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Facebook tightens Graph Search to stop adult snoopers

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Facebook has responded to privacy concerns over its new Graph Search product by imposing new restrictions on the information displayed for teenage users.

The new restrictions mean that anything shared by Facebook users aged 13 to 17 will only be shared with a "maximum number of friends of friends", Facebook said in a blog post.

Facebook Graph Search

© Facebook



Searches that could potentially identify a young person by their age or location will also only display results to that person's friends, or friend of friends who are also aged between 13 and 17.

So, if an adult was to search on Facebook for "single girls aged 16", they would not get any results.

Launched last month in beta, Graph Search is essentially a search engine for Facebook, enabling users to more easily search the people, places, photos and other interests that have already been shared with them on Facebook.

For example, you could search for "my friends who like Indian food", and be presented with only your friends who like Indian food and have shared their like with you.

The feature already been the subject of parody, including a Tumblr blog showing the bizarre searchers that beta users have been running, such as "married people who like prostitutes" and "current Tesco employees who like horses".

But there has also been real concern that the new tool could be used for snooping and stalking by users.

During the Graph Search launch on January 15, Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg maintained that the tool had been built with privacy right at its heart.

But Facebook is already facing close scrutiny over its privacy practices, and so the teen search restrictions are presumably intended to head off concerns before the tool goes public.

"Currently, Graph Search is available to a small number of people who use Facebook in English (US)," said Facebook.

"We are rolling this product out slowly so we can assess how people use it and make improvements."

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