Facebook ‘Graph App’ hoax

I’ve been hearing about and seeing an increasing number of posts advising people to change their Facebook privacy settings due to the Facebook ‘Graph App’. These posts are the equivalent of a traditional chain letter and should be ignored. With the rollout of Facebook’s Graph Search (similarly in name to Graph App) to iOS devices this week, the number of these hoax posts is likely to rise. To help clarify understanding around Graph Search and the content of the post please see my analysis below. The post varies slightly but goes something like this:

You may not know that Facebook has changed its privacy configuration once again. Thanks to the new “Graphic app”, any person in Facebook anywhere in the world can see our photos, our “likes” and our “comments”. During the next two weeks, I am going to keep this message posted and I ask you to do the following and comment “DONE”. Those of my friends who do not maintain my information in private will be eliminated from my list of friends, because I want the information I share with you, my friends, to remain among my friends and not be available to the whole world. I want to be able to publish photos of my friends and family without strangers being able to see them which is what happens now when you choose “like” or “comment”. Unfortunately we cannot change this configuration because Facebook has made it like this. So, please, place your cursor over my photo that appears in this box (without clicking) and a window will open. Now move the cursor to the word “Friends”, again without clicking and then on “Settings”. Click “Settings” now and Uncheck “Life Events” and “Comments and Like”. This way my activity with my family and friends will no longer be made public. Now, copy and paste this text on your own wall (do not “share” it!). Once I see it published on your page, I will un-check the same for you.

Here’s it is again with my analysis:

You may not know that Facebook has changed its privacy configuration once again. [POSSIBLY TRUE: Facebook change privacy setting fairly regularly so it depends on when you read the post. The latest change was announced on 10 October.] Thanks to the new “Graphic app”, [NOTE: There is no such thing as Facebook’s Graphic app. Facebook does have Graphs Search – read Graph Search – 5 things you should do right now.] any person in Facebook anywhere in the world can see our photos, our “likes” and our “comments”.  [FALSE: Even assuming Graphic App refers to Graph Search this is untrue.] During the next two weeks, I am going to keep this message posted and I ask you to do the following and comment “DONE”. Those of my friends who do not maintain my information in private will be eliminated from my list of friends, because I want the information I share with you, my friends, to remain among my friends and not be available to the whole world. I want to be able to publish photos of my friends and family without strangers being able to see them which is what happens now when you choose “like” or “comment”. [FALSE: You can set permissions for Status Update or photo eg Friends, Public or Only Me (where no one sees the update except you). More info from Facebook here – How Sharing WorksUnfortunately we cannot change this configuration because Facebook has made it like this. [FALSE: Each and every post’s and photo’s privacy setting can be set by the user.] So, please, place your cursor over my photo that appears in this box (without clicking) and a window will open. Now move the cursor to the word “Friends”, again without clicking and then on “Settings”. Click “Settings” now and Uncheck “Life Events” and “Comments and Like”. This way my activity with my family and friends will no longer be made public. [FALSE: The instructions have no impact on whether other people can see the user’s Life Events plus Likes and Comments. Following the instructions means YOU no longer see that user’s Life Events and Likes and Comments. If your Friends with them you may well want to see these. Following these instructions has no impact on privacy settings and Graph Search.] Now, copy and paste this text on your own wall (do not “share” it!). Once I see it published on your page, I will un-check the same for you. [NOTE: This will have the effect of spreading the hoax.]

So in summary, the post based on incorrect information that provides advice that doesn’t do what it states. Posting the above will do absolutely nothing to protect your privacy. Read Facebook’s Help for information on Facebook’s privacy settings.

If you’re concerned about Facebook’s Graph Search – coming to the UK soon – you can rest assured that it won’t make any of your Facebook posts, photos, videos or activities visible to strangers unless they’re set to ‘Public’ – a privacy setting that you can choose for each and every content item. Graph Search simply enables other Facebook members another way to find your stuff and does not impact or change your privacy settings.

Therefore, my advice if you see it is to ignore it or better still point people in the direction of this analysis to help clarify the facts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.