Commenting on Facebook’s new Graph Search tool, David Gibson, VP of Strategy for Varonis said, “This is a very exciting step for Facebook. They are now allowing their user community to harness the power of all the metadata they’ve been collecting – and it is this metadata that allows context.
“For example, the difference between a Google search for a restaurant and a Facebook search is that Facebook has ‘like’ metadata— who liked the restaurant, and what makes their opinion matter? The search engine with the most complete and most accessible metadata usually wins. As a parallel, Varonis has seen that knowing what a file contains is one thing, but when you know who uses that file and who has access to it as well then you have an advantage.
“Facebook will be able to use metadata to put opinions into context and answer questions like: Which of your Facebook friends liked something? Which ones that went to culinary school liked it? Which like other restaurants that you like? By combining that ingenuous bit of metadata— the Facebook ‘like’— with where people live, what schools they’ve gone to or where they work, you’ve got a very powerful way to analyze which people like which stuff. Google right now has location data and some reviews, but doesn’t really have the dimension of who is liking what, and how those people are relevant.”
Gibson cautioned however, “From a privacy standpoint, however, it’s a little scary how easily something you once posted on Facebook can be resurfaced with a quick query. This is especially unnerving considering how privacy settings on Facebook are notoriously confusing and prone to human error.”