I remember way-back-when, in the early days of Facebook, it used to be possible to run searches based on personal attributes. Anyone who listed themselves as a woman interested in women was easy to find. And then, I think in part due to complaints from users and privacy advocates, that functionality disappeared (or at least was a lot harder to access). Now it’s back with a vengeance.
With Facebook’s new graph search, it’s possible, again, to find men who are interested in men. But it’s also possible to find people who like Neil Patrick Harris. Or the local gay bar. Or Grindr. (I thought George Takei would be a good indicator, but he seems to be a boundary spanner, at least among my friends.) It’s also possible to combine these searchers (e.g. men who are interested in men and like George W. Bush) or to probe deeper (e.g. find out where they have worked). Another reminder that privacy isn’t just about what information is online, but also about the tools that are provided to access it.
Update: Check out Actual Facebook Graph Searches for more examples of the fun you can have with graph search. Thanks for the pointer Erik!