How To Turn Off Facebook Graph Search


Do you want to know how to turn off Facebook Graph Search?

If you walk onto a used-car lot and brag to the salesman that you’re rich, who’s to blame: the salesman for exploiting that information to sell you a car for more than it’s worth, or you for naively sharing in the first place? Both! The same is true in the hacking of the Facebook Graph Search data; Facebook AND poorly informed users SHARE the responsibility for this latest breach.

In case you haven’t heard the latest, Brandon Copley, a mobile developer in Dallas, Texas, was able to exploit Facebook’s Graph Search to collect 2.5 million phone numbers of Facebook users.  Copley is not a malicious hacker; he was simply trying to show how vulnerable the information is that people leave “public” on Facebook.

In a note from Facebook to its users, Facebook acknowledged the “bug”.  They went on to explain how it happened and said they immediately disabled the tool in question until it was fixed.  They also issued a cease and desist letter to Copley stating, “You are unlawfully acquiring Facebook user data. It appears that you are accessing Facebook through automated means and stealing Facebook access tokens in order to scrape data from Facebook’s site without permission.”  Copley argued that, “Facebook is denying its users the right to privacy by allowing our phone numbers to be publicly searchable as the default setting.”

What is Facebook’s responsibility regarding Graph Search?

Facebook is at fault for allowing robo-harvesting of your personal data through Graph Search. They should plug this search engine hole immediately – we’ll see that soon. They also need to plug a series of related breaches.

What is our responsibility as users?

We have to remember that Facebook is a social network, a term that openly admits to the sharing of data, which is why Facebook DOESN’T HAVE a privacy policy, they have a Data Use Policy. And make no mistake; the Facebook Data Use Policy says that by default, they will share everything possible unless we tell them otherwise. In other words, we’re giving them a lot of our information for a pretty used car.

What steps can our viewers take right now? (See video)

  1. Share only what you want made public.  Remember, the default setting is to make everything public; it is your responsibility to go in and change your settings.
  2. Read & understand the Data Use Policy, otherwise, you have no way of knowing how Facebook is making your data available to others.
  3. Customize privacy settings to limit access. To do this well, it will take about 60 minutes of your time, but it will be well worth the effort.

John Sileo is a keynote speaker and CEO of The Sileo Group, a privacy think tank that trains organizations to harness the power of their digital footprint. Sileo’s clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security and businesses looking to protect the information that makes them profitable. Contact him directly on 800-258-8076.