Facebook Graph Search: How to Check Your Privacy Settings

Facebook Graph Search

Have you seen Facebook's Graph Search yet?  It's the new, very powerful natural-language search engine from the folks at Facebook that opens up users' information in new ways.  This is great news for marketers, in my mind!  But I wanted to step back from that role for a second and talk to you about something important for your personal safety and that of the people you love.

Any time a social media platform or search engine finds new ways to use information, it's important to check to make sure you're not displaying data that is going to put yourself or your family at risk.  It's especially important when you have teens using Facebook who might not understand how the information they have included in their profile could actually make them the target of unscrupulous people.

A couple of months ago after one of the occasional social media password hacks that happen every few months, I posted an article about making sure your passwords are safe.  The response was huge – information about security and safety on social media is information that many people think could and should be made easier to find on social media for sure! 

So with that in mind, I wanted to share some information with you about your Facebook privacy settings, how Facebook Graph Search uses your information, and how to make sure your account is set up so that you're only sharing the information you want with your friends, friends of friends, and the public.

Facebook Graph Search:  How to Check Your Privacy Settings

1. Check Your Post Privacy Settings

According to Facebook, Graph Search results depend on your privacy settings.  This means that different people will get different results depending on how you've set up your privacy filters.  If they're not your friend or a friend of a friend, they will see a much more limited amount of information about you than your immediate connections will.

Now – the important thing to remember, though is that it's not just your privacy settings in your profile you need to be aware of – though this is a good place to start.

Graph Search allows your content to be searched as well.  If you've posted content and have your default posting audience set to "public," any content you've posted is going to be discoverable this way. 

Not sure what I'm talking about?  Here's a picture to help: 



If you haven't adjusted this setting, it will default to "Public."  Click this and set it to "Friends" to set that as your new default.  You can always widen the audience for any given post, but if you set your default to "Friends," you won't accidentally forget to restrict view of a post that should be restricted.  

2. Clean Up Your Likes!

You know how you see funny things that come across your feed that your friends have "Liked" and then you notice after the fact that some of the pages have names that are a bit off or even downright offensive? 

Guess what?  These things are now showing up in Graph Search.  Just start typing "Friends who like …" and you'll start getting auto-complete suggestions for all kinds of things, some of which might be funny, but others that might be rather crass and crude. 

Go through your likes and make sure that everything you've liked is something you're comfortable with others knowing you like. Realize that social platforms are social, and what you publish is visible to others. Make sure that your information is visible only by the people you want it to be!

Go through Graph Search and check it out – leave a comment below sharing what your most surprising search results are.  I'd love to hear!


  1. Good one, Edmund! Do these caveats also hold true for business Facebook pages?My privacy settings for my personal and businesses pages are set for "public," but I'm very careful in wording my posts. Some people might not like my personal posts, but I don't use profanity, make racial (or other) slurs, etc. Your response would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Excellent tips Edmund, especially about the likes. I have found that it is necessary to be a bit choosey when participating in the fan page like parties…never know who will show up!! Thanks!

  3. Great tips Edmund. I know I definitely need to spend some time cleaning up my likes as a result of participating in so many fan page parties. Thanks!

  4. This is helpful, Edmund — it demystified Graph Search for me. Thank you!


    Great tips Edmund. Privacy is very important – thanks for these information on how to control every post on Facebook.


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