Protecting Your Privacy in Graph Search

By Michael Richter

Recently we’ve heard questions about how a new beta product called Graph Search works. Graph Search aims to make the information people have already shared with each other more useful and in a way that is completely personal and respects privacy settings.

We wanted to take this opportunity to answer these questions about how Graph Search works, and to emphasize how important it is to us that people understand how to control who can see what they share on Facebook.

Before Graph Search began rolling out, we highlighted a set of upgraded privacy tools on Facebook encouraging people to review what they’ve shared. The upgraded privacy tools, and the reminder to use them, are part of an ongoing effort to encourage people to make choices that are right for them.

Privacy works consistently across Facebook, not just on Graph Search. When you control who you share your information with, you determine who it’s shared with across Facebook – including News Feed, timeline and in Graph Search. Below are some of the most common questions around Graph Search and privacy. The video and links below give more info on how privacy works on Facebook and in Graph Search.

How Privacy Works With Graph Search

Links for more info:


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I control what information shows up about me in Graph Search?

You control the audience of information you share on Facebook. For each piece of content you own, you can choose whether that information is shared with Public, Friends, Only Me, Custom or specific lists of people.

Graph Search is aware of these privacy settings. Go to your Activity Log to review and control who can see what you share on Facebook.

How do I control the audience of my likes?

You control who you share your interests and likes with on Facebook.

To do this, go to your timeline and click the “Likes” box at the top.

Graph Search and Privacy

Each category of interests and likes has its own privacy setting.

Graph Search and Privacy


If, for example, you choose to only let your friends see your interests, then your friends are the only people who will see that you like those interests anywhere on Facebook: in News Feed, on your timeline and in Graph Search.

For pages that are not part of a category, you can see and change the privacy of these likes under the “Other Pages You Like” section.

Graph Search and Privacy


Can people see things about my friends through Graph Search?

You can choose who can see your friend and family lists across Facebook, on your timeline, in News Feed and Graph Search.

Graph Search and Privacy

Just as you control who can see your friend lists, your friends control who can see their friend lists. Someone might be able to tell that you’re friends with another person — and search based on that friendship — if they can see your friendship on the other person’s timeline. So if you’re concerned about people searching for info about your friends, you can ask your friends to limit who can see their friends list as well.

Some people have asked us why search works this way. The reason is that we want people to be clear on who can see info about them not only in Graph Search, but elsewhere on Facebook — such as on timeline or in News Feed. Privacy controls work consistently across Facebook.

How do I view and control what photos of me are on Facebook?

Last year, we launched improved privacy tools that let people see what they’ve shared, to see what photos have been tagged of them, and to be able to take action if there’s something they don’t like. In Activity Log, you can now review all posts and things you’re tagged in. For example, with photos, you can see photos you’ve uploaded and been tagged in.

You can then untag yourself from any of those photos, or, if you didn’t post it, send a message to the owner of the photo asking them to take it down from Facebook.


Graph Search and Privacy

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