Now that we've got your attention, let me explain something I don't fully understand, fear, dread, or love yet....Facebook Graph Search. Please do not note any unintended surprise in my words as I've given up my expectations of privacy in this world long ago.
I like to think I'm a good writer who often reads the work of great writers. Great writers like Anand Giridharadas. Now, I didn't randomly pick Mr. Giridharadas, rather because of an article of his today I was able to ascertain that of those on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) who also "like" Mr. Giridharadas -I am the only one who lives in Guatemala, but one of three who also "likes" Chelsea Football Club despite this season's atrocious form they have been displaying. I wish I could have played around more but felt the need to share this article (mine not his) with you and be paid for it.
The first words I read today while enjoying my first cup of coffee nearly induced a spit-take. They come from Mr. G's first paragraph in today's New York Times....I'm not a lazy reporter, but could play around with this all day...
Oh, the things you learn on Facebook’s new search engine! Among them: that the hardware chain Home Depot wins the top ranking among employers of people who “like” sadomasochism; that a lot of people are not embarrassed to profess a “like” of Hitler, but only nine of them reside in Germany, including one man with an apparently Muslim name who claims to work for NASA; and that abortion is prominently labeled a disease, and more than 6,000 people “like” it anyway.
Graph Search is a nightmare for the privacy advocate or just someone who likes to remain anonymous to the world but not to his or her friends. A blessing to the hyper-targeted marketing campaigns that will surely follow. A new tool to learn if you're looking for a social media marketing job. Or, as Mr. Giridharadas pointed out, a chance for the Chinese to round up people who "like" the Falun Gong, or Ugandan and Iranian officials to find the homosexual "law breakers" in their country.
Presently, only about 100,000 English speaking people have access to Graph Search. A number that is rising every day.
As Web site GigaOM (cited by Mr. G) stated after fiddling around with Graph Search, "the end of privacy by obscurity."
I urge you to read the NYT's piece in its entirety here, and return to this site for Part II of this article where we will look deeper into the workings of Graph Search and the "Unicorn" on which its built.