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February 15, 2013

Facebook Introduces Special Safeguards for Teens on Graph Search

Social Network Releases Safety Tips for All Users

As Graph Search continues its slow roll out to Facebook’s English-speaking users, the social network is reassuring its members safeguards are in place to protect all who use the site — teens in particular.

Graph Search allows users to access Facebook’s mammoth data bank to answer queries about other members.

For instance, using Graph Search, a user can type in queries like: NFL fans who live nearby? Friends under 30 from California? Friends who work in New York City? Friends who like Kings of Leon? and get answers based on is or her social circle.

While Graph Search will not reveal information members would not ordinarily be able to see, it compiles all of the data in one place, a fact that has been a source of concern for privacy advocates.

Facebook is addressing some of those concerns by taking into account the “unique needs” of teens members.

“On Facebook, many things teens are likely to do — such as adding information to their timelines or sharing status updates — can only be shared with a maximum of Friends of Friends,” Facebook’s Safety Team said in a blog post.

“In addition, for certain searches that could help to identify a young person by age or by their location, results will only show to that person’s Friends, or Friends of Friends who are also between the age of 13 to 17.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Graph Search at a much-anticipated press conference at the company’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif, Jan. 15.

He described it as “one of the coolest things we’ve done in awhile.”

Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When a user makes a query, that search not only determines the set of results, but also serves as a title for the page. Users can edit the title to create their own custom view of the content they and their friends have shared on Facebook.

Facebook has also released some Graph Search safety tips for all users:

Manage Your Activity Log: Activity log makes it easy to see the things you’ve posted on Facebook, make changes to the audience of past photos and other posts, and choose what appears on your Timeline. We recently announced some new tools that make it easier to take action on multiple photos, such as untagging them, or requesting that they are removed with one click.If you are ever concerned who can see content you have posted or shared on Facebook, review it on your Activity Log

Review About Me: In addition to your Activity Log, review the ‘About’ tab to check any basic info you have shared with others on your profile, such as your current city, your workplace, Pages you like, or your education. The same people who can see this info on your profile can search for this info about you. Check this section to make sure you are comfortable with the audience you have chosen to share this information with.

Reporting:  As always, do not hesitate to report any abusive content you see on Facebook in the report links throughout site.