New Facebook search option raises concerns


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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- The internet is full of friends, friend requests, friends-of-friends, and sundry other online lingo. Danger can also lurk in the corners of the internet, which is why parents like Ernest Williams and Julie Toner take extra pre-cautions.

“When he became a member of Facebook, he befriended me,” said Williams. “So, we were friends, and I could pretty much monitor what he was doing on there.” Toner added, “They had to give me their passwords so I could get on their accounts and see what they were doing.”

Those steps can control what their kids do, but they don’t protect them from the outside world. Facebook recently added the “Graph Search” feature, which allows users to sift through Facebook based on certain criteria.

That means you can search for people who fit the profile of “Female Students at [Insert School Name]”, and then refine it with the graduation year. Any student that does not have their profile privacy settings high enough, will show up in the search results. “It’s very scary,” said Toner. “[I’m] very uneasy about the fact that there are predators out there that could find out where my daughter goes to school.”

If you want to remove yourself from the Graph Search results for people you are not friends with, go to “Privacy Shortcuts”, and click on “See More Setting.” Once the page loads, go down to the box that says “Who can look me up?” There, you will see a drop-down menu with the default set to “Everyone.” Change that to “Friends.”

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