1. If you’re new here, scroll down for the pictures. They’re still there.

    If you’re looking to write an article, scroll further down for the FAQ, which answers nearly all the questions that journalists send!

    If you’d like to talk to me, hire me, or get me to speak at a conference — I’m damn good at this “making web stuff” lark, and I’m not bad at teaching it — my details are here.

    What A Difference A Day Makes

    24 hours since launch. More than a quarter of a million visitors. Articles in The Guardian, Forbes, Slate, TechCrunch, Mashable, Gawker, the Huffington Post, and — easily sending more traffic than any of them — Le Monde. The front page of Hacker News for most of the day, too, plus pieces on Kottke and my old flame Metafilter. Dozens more besides. A couple of lovely radio interviews, and (depending on tomorrow’s news agenda) perhaps a TV interview too.

    All for half a dozen amusing screenshots.

    The Public Speaks

    Only a few submissions, alas - presumably because not many people have Graph Search - and they’ve almost all been “People who like X and Y, where X and Y are amusingly contradictory things”. I’m trying to avoid posting many of those: the key is in the complexity.

    If you plan to continue this somewhere, don’t look for people who like both Superbowl teams: look for “Rangers fans who are family members of Celtic fans”. (There are two, or sometimes five, depending on how Facebook responds.)

    These People Aren’t Stupid

    Maybe people will get a bit more savvy as a result of this; most likely, they won’t. The people showing up here aren’t stupid: they just don’t have the knowledge required to be safe. If I took my car to a garage for a tune-up, a disreputable mechanic could fleece me for unwanted repairs and I’d never know it: that doesn’t make me stupid, it just means my knowledge is in other areas.

    Graph Search jokes are a good way of startling people into checking their privacy settings — but most people will never actually be affected by accidentally making data ‘public’. (Of course, for the unlucky ones, it won’t be a gamble worth taking.)

    Most of the danger online comes not from strangers making half-assed joke searches: it comes from people who know you. A lot of the public data fails what I call the ‘bitter ex test’: can someone who hates you ruin your life with that information?

    And so, the Point’s Been Made

    I could drag this out for days, watching an ever-dwindling stream of people be mildly titillated. Or I could bow out now. As the old saying goes: always leave ‘em wanting more.

    In a few months, Graph Search will have rolled out to everyone, and this’ll be normal. This site will just be an archive of how we reacted when Graph Search was released and, wow, didn’t we overreact back then?

    I don’t know. Did we?

    My name’s Tom. You can reach me here, or on Twitter. Good night, and good luck.


  2. "Mothers of Jews who like Bacon".

    [Yes, that’s ambiguous. Getting Facebook to understand which way round I wanted it to parse the sentence was difficult.]


  3. "Married people who like Prostitutes … these people’s spouses"


  4. "Current employees of Tesco who like horses"

    [Non-British people: click here to understand this joke]


  5. "Current employers of people who like Racism" [mostly "ironically", of course]


  6. A quick FAQ

    How do I get access to Graph Search?

    That’s been the most common question. (Of course it has.) You sign up for the waiting list on Facebook’s site. I’ve no idea why I’m one of the lucky ones that got it early!

    Why did you make this?

    I got invited to Graph Search today, started playing about with it, and got some… well, some interesting results. I’ve been having a lot of fun at Facebook’s expense lately, but I had to take one more quick, cheap shot — and I think a Tumblr blog is the quickest, cheapest shot it’s possible to take.

    I’m not sure I’m making any deeper point about privacy: I think, at this point, we’re basically all just rubbernecking - myself included. Facebook does have good privacy settings: but there are many, many people who don’t know how to use them!

    Searching questions about the death of privacy will be left as an exercise for the reader.

    Aren’t you giving ideas to repressive governments?

    I’d bet money they’ve already thought of it and have already done those searches. The searches I’m making now were suggested on the day that Facebook Graph Search was announced, more than a week ago.

    Also, I think they have more accurate and time-tested intelligence-gathering services than Facebook Graph Search. See the next question:

    Isn’t Facebook’s data so bad that it doesn’t matter?

    In many cases, but not in all.

    Searching for family members, for example, is often disrupted by the (mostly teenage) people who’ve marked friends as their family. And for the “Iranian men who like men” search, a lot of that may be mistranslation: it could be interpreted as the literal ‘interested in meeting’ rather than ‘would like to date’.

    I’m freaked out now. What’s your advice?

    If it’d be awkward if it was put on a screen in Times Square, don’t put it on Facebook. Oh, and check your privacy settings again.

    Are there any searches so unsettling that you haven’t put them on here?


    Updated to add:

    Are you getting many submissions?

    Almost none. I suspect that’s because not many people have Graph Search right now.

    What’s the blog’s traffic like?

    I’m going to go with somewhere between “ridiculous” and “ludicrous”.

    Will this be an ongoing effort?

    As the old saying goes: always leave ‘em wanting more.


  7. "Spouses of married people who like [cheat-on-your-partner dating site] Ashley Madison"


  8. "Mothers of Catholics from Italy who like Durex


  9. "Family members of people who live in China and like [the very very banned] Falun Gong


  10. "People who like Focus on the Family [anti gay marriage] and Neil Patrick Harris [very gay and due to be married with kids]"


  11. "People who like English Defence League and Curry” (hat tip to @qwghlm)


  12. Islamic men interested in men who live in Tehran, Iran"… "Places where they’ve worked."


  13. "Single women who live nearby and who are interested in men and like Getting Drunk"