Top 10 Facebook Graph Search Questions Answered

Here's what content marketers, SEO consultants, social media experts and even business owners need to know about the Facebook Graph Search tool.

By James A. Martin
Tue, January 29, 2013
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4: What About Facebook Graph Search and Privacy?

Facebook says its built Graph Search with privacy in mind from the start, adding that the company "respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook."

Those comforting words aside, Facebook Graph Search has some security experts and privacy advocates concerned. "Facebook claims to have built Graph Search with privacy in mind, but Facebook has a mixed track record on this front and is in the habit of pushing privacy to the limits of what is acceptable," Eden Zoller, principal analyst at technology consultancy Ovum, tells CIO.com inHow Your Facebook Privacy Settings Impact Graph Search. Others suggest that Facebook Graph Search will be great for phishing attacks.

Meanwhile, the Web is already buzzing with the potentially embarrassing and disturbing connections Facebook Graph Search can create. There's even a Tumblr blog devoted to the topic, Actual Facebook Graph Searches, with screenshots of search results for such terms as "current employers of people who like racism."

5. How Will Facebook Graph Search Result Rankings Differ From Google?

There is some similarity in how search results are ranked on Google and Facebook. Google sees legitimate links from other Web pages (and social networks) to a particular piece of Web content as votes of confidence in that content. As a result, a blog post, Web page, YouTube video or other content that receives legitimate links from other sites will rank higher in Google search results than other relevant content without external links.

Analysis: Is Facebook's Graph Search a Google Killer?

In other words, Google tends to reward Web content that has compelled people across the Internet to endorse or share it online with links. Similarly, Graph Search can surface Facebook content that has compelled people in your network to like it, share it, check in and/or comment. The more interaction your Facebook posts get, the more likely those posts will be found in a Facebook Graph Search.

6. Are Consumers Likely to Use Facebook Graph Search?

That's a "big if" and the most important question," Straley says.

"Where I think this is possible is on mobile devices. Industry research suggests that many consumers turn to specific mobile apps to conduct vertical searches, like using Yelp to find restaurants, the Weather Channel app for local weather, and Google Maps for directions," he says. "It is in the app environment on mobile devices where I think Graph Search has the greatest potential to reach critical mass and experience rapid adoption.

That said, Staley adds that it's "doubtful" Facebook Graph Search will be available for mobile devices in 2013.

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