Think all your old rants and status updates are safely tucked away in some forgotten corner of Facebook? Think again. The social network site’s latest update to Graph Search is about to make it easier for friends to find your old posts without trawling your Timeline.
When Facebook announced Graph Search earlier this year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that it was designed to “help you get access to things people have shared with you.” Previously, those “things” were limited to aspects like places you’ve been, pages you liked, friends you added and photos of you. Now Facebook is adding the ability to search for status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments, making it possible to search for things like “posts about Breaking Bad by my friends” or “posts about partying by my friends” (or any other various niche keywords you would like to research).
According to Facebook, you will also be able to search for posts composed at a specific time, city or specific place, by using phrases such as “posts by my friends in London” or “posts by my friends from this week.” While all this sounds like a simple way to
stalk your ‘friends’ surface content that may have been missed in your Timeline and privacy cleansing efforts, Facebook has been careful to remind users that “you can only see content that has been shared with you, including posts shared publicly by people you are not friends with.”
The latest changes to Graph Search are being gradually rolled out to a subset of users, who Facebook will trial the changes with and adjust the system based on their feedback. Still, this means that only a relatively small percentage of Facebook’s billion-plus users will be able to search through troves of old posts, especially considering the feature is only available to those using US English and the desktop version of the website (not the suite of mobile apps). However, as TechCrunch points out, indexing and making all this information searchable could help Facebook’s advertising game, especially if it can (eventually) offer brands the ability to target their ads to users who are already interested in and searching for things related to their business.