I miss having a place on the web to call my own.

Graph search… putting all your duck (faces) in a row. Photo: AP

How I long for the mid 90s, before the days of social graph or APIs.
I miss MySpace, and LiveJournal and Geocities.

Those spaces were my own for a time.

But with the announcement of Facebook’s new Graph Search engine, there is really nowhere on the web for me to hide anymore.

Facebook has been a sacred site for me to talk en masse to my friends. And my privacy settings are tailored so that only my friends can find me.

And I like it that way.

I can vent about a frustrating day, or share stories that amaze me. It really has been like a live journal for my life.

The very concept of privacy may be dead. Hell, it may never have existed. But I miss the illusion.

Facebook and its advocates will argue that Graph Search only makes public what was already publicly available - but until now there has not been a dedicated search engine for information that until now was not publicly available via Google, Bing or even Facebook.

Yes, that information may have been publicly available but users would have to devote some time and skill to finding it.

Soon all that public information will be at the world’s fingertips.

I’m not going to say that I’m going to leave Facebook, but I will forever be a little sad that there isn’t a little patch of online grass that I can call my own anymore.

That’s all.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

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    • Alex says:

      04:56am | 17/01/13

      inb4 the standard Anti-Facebook rants.
      “Attention seekers, Pointless, Inane drivel, Invasion of privacy, since leaving my life has never been better, Data-mine, marketing tool, Zuckerberg is a Zionist, etc, etc”

      There. I just saved you all the trouble.

    • John says:

      07:37am | 17/01/13

      Which of those aren’t true, Alex ?

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      05:33am | 17/01/13

      Don’t sign up in the first place and you don’t have a problem. It works for my wife.

    • ZSRenn says:

      05:39am | 17/01/13

      Dear Friends It would appear that I have woken up early after a heavy night of drinking I would like to apologize for any comment that may come hitherto. Mark Zuckerberg has installed new software that detects your level of drunkenness and spams your friends profiles with angry and inappropriate comments. This is not me, I have been hacked by the Zuckerberg Alcohol Virus. (ZAV) Please ignore all rants and share this so others will not be affected.

    • Fiddler says:

      07:13am | 17/01/13

      I too have on occasion been subjected to this awful, awful computer virus. It has also affected my phone, sending text messages of a lewd nature to attractive female coworkers at 3am. I don’t know how Zuckerberg can sleep at night. Oh, that’s right, on a bed made of money.

    • ZSRenn says:

      08:35am | 17/01/13

      @ Fiddler

      Sorry to say but that is the “Zuckerberg Hi I’m So Magnificent’ Virus or the Zhism. Similar but affects your phone only. Apparently it is so intrusive it can also attack iphones.

    • Jim Moriarty says:

      07:07am | 17/01/13

      Aw, man, I had a LiveJournal! Even had a paid account. Ahh, remember Harry Potter and LOTR fandoms way back when? So much funny drama.

      Everyone’s pretty much abandoned it for tumblr now.

    • Anon delivers says:

      07:30am | 17/01/13

      Pwned again ! How many times is that now ? Their users must have Stockholm Syndrome.

    • Matthais says:

      07:34am | 17/01/13

      A rather pointless and internally contradictory article.

      Word to the unwise, no “patch of online grass” was ever or will ever be your own.

      If you’d like your own “patch”, buy a $200 NAS device from your local electronics store and switch on the web services. That way, you can have your own little website in your house where nobody else can see it.

      It astounds me that anyone would even consider sharing a “live journal” of their life online, such narcissism…

      What saddens me is that articles like this are even drafted, let alone published. If you want to share something with a friend, call them, have a coffee or a beer with them.

    • Roxanne Ford says:

      07:55am | 17/01/13

      Could always use a nom de plume for Facebook.  I do.  Works well and my friends know who I am.  That way I vent and bitch and do whatever I feel like.

    • Blind Freddy says:

      09:07am | 17/01/13

      You will shortly be identifiable due to your Facebook “friendship” network.

    • dancan says:

      08:01am | 17/01/13

      You want to keep your information away from net stalkers, get off the internet.  You want to vent to your friends, see them in person.  You want privacy, go for a walk in the bush.  You want a ‘live’ journal, buy a diary.

      It’s that simple people.

    • SimpleSimon says:

      08:11am | 17/01/13

      This post makes absolutely no sense. Momentarily disregarding the fact that Facebook was never “just for you”, this new feature does nothing to make your private posts public, or change the way you use the service. You even acknowledged that in your piece!

      If you want a piece of the web that is truly yours, make your own site and lock it down. Don’t look to social media to find privacy, the very concept is silly.

    • subotic is anti-social says:

      08:14am | 17/01/13

      @Claire Porter, GO BLOG YOURSELF!

    • Tork says:

      08:17am | 17/01/13

      There are plenty of places that you can call your own.  Look a bit harder..

      First thing that pops to mind is a blog.  I’ve got a dad blog.  They can be set to private.  It can be just like myspace without the need to know HTML like Myspace did.

    • Harquebus says:

      08:40am | 17/01/13

      Never use your real name on the internet.

    • Matt says:

      08:44am | 17/01/13

      Want your privacy back? check out diaspora, its like an open source mashup of facebook and twitter that actually cares about your privacy.

    • Shane says:

      02:39pm | 17/01/13

      Want your privacy back? Here’s a much better suggestion - don’t post your personal information all over the internet. Nowhere on the net is private.

    • ramases says:

      08:51am | 17/01/13

      Every time I see an article about the loss of privacy because this or that happened on Facebook I laugh till my sides hurt. Like sheep people signed up for this insidious thing and Twitter and put their whole lives out there and now it will be common knowledge to one and all. Have a look at the way most advertising wants you yo “like” them on Facebook and then stop and think, I know that a foreign concept to most Facebook users, why. Is it because they need my approval or is it just gathering more and more data about your private life to use against you to part you with your hard earned dollar. Now it will all be out there for everyone despite the protestations of “privacy” from Zuckerberg and his Facebook team.
        My thoughts, SERVES YOU RIGHT! What is this compulsion to put your whole pathetic life on the web at all, is it that most people are so insecure that they think their mundane and miserable existence is somehow going to be enhanced by the electronic media when in fact is makes a good laugh for a lot of people. This compulsion on Facebook and also Twitter beggars belief as peoples display the herd instinct to open their whole lives to ridicule just to be seen as up to the minute when in fact nobody really cares.

    • Audra Blue says:

      10:40am | 17/01/13

      My questions is, does Zuckerberg put his whole life up on Facebook the way he wants us to?

    • Jaqui says:

      09:15am | 17/01/13

      Free from Google, free from Facebook use gmx.com for email and ixquick.com for your search.

      You would rather be safe than sorry right! See leaving Google and Facebook as an insurance policy.

    • stephen says:

      09:38am | 17/01/13

      Confcious says “when one puts junk data in, one obtains not enlightnment but useless inforamtion at the other end”.

      Its a bit over done really.  Big deal that when you like a picture of a cute kitten you get spammed by pet ads.

    • Alexander says:

      09:39am | 17/01/13

      The last paragraph is telling; “I’m not going to say that I’m going to leave Facebook” - Facebook doesn’t need you, but people are convinced they need it, and this allows them to make any changes, have people complain about it for a bit then go on with business as usual.

      I left Facebook about two weeks ago when I realised all privacy settings had been completely watered down, everything was basically public. It’s not been easy, particularly in regards to keeping tabs on upcoming events, but felt it was the right move. Two articles in two days seems to have confirmed this in my mind.

    • Fiddler says:

      10:36am | 17/01/13

      two highly inaccurate articles in two days time. This new search function was already possible, but a little harder to do. Up your security settings and people won’t be able to find out.

      And serious, who gives a flying f*ck if someone can find out that you “Like” lolcats?

    • Alexander says:

      11:02am | 17/01/13

      Fiddler, when I last looked at the settings the bulk of the ability to hide your profile was basically gone. Although you can choose to accept or reject tags when they come up for your news feed, they will still appear on others’ feeds. It looks like it’s all been exceedingly watered down in comparison to the previous array of settings available.

      You might not care, but others do. Diminishing the situation into worrying about whether people know that someone likes LOLcats is completely off the point. For many they may dislike the direction Facebook is heading but won’t leave because they believe they ‘need’ the product and can’t live without it. This means that Facebook can do anything they want and most people won’t be proactive about choosing to reject the platform.

    • Anniebello says:

      10:39am | 17/01/13

      Want your privacy?
      Then don’t give it away to farcebook and twit-er in the first place.
      How many times do people have to be told that once its on the net, its on the net forever?
      Gees, not rocket science.

    • neil says:

      10:56am | 17/01/13

      I have toally avoided all social media until recently. I constantly come under pressure from friends to get a FB acct. A xmas card I received from the UK that had a subtle dig about FB made me at least investigate only to find that my personal email of 12 years that is hosted on my accountants server and uses their company domain already had a FB acct? which I could not access.

      So I used the forgot password function and changed it to get access, this was not straight forward as the acct had been frozen when I tried to access it from an “unknown device”. The acct had been set up and accessed from Seattle Washington, it used my first name which is part of my email but a false surname and birthday, there was luckily no significant history on the acct as it hadn’t been used since it was setup in 2007.

      When I tried to deactivate this bogus acct and set up a new one I found that FB will retain the history forever as under their terms they own it and my personal email address will remain permanently associated with that account so I can never use it on FB.

      Needless to say I will never use FB.

    • beowulf says:

      12:18pm | 17/01/13

      I still use Livejournal. I generally update my blog about twice a month; I am not sure anybody reads it. I can see sites like Livejournal making a resurgence, because it does provide an element of privacy.

      I go to Facebook almost every day, but I do not really use it. If I do use it I no longer tag anybody and just upload the odd photo, which I am never in.

      Facebook still seems to have some use, but Twitter seems only for famous people to advertise their next gig.

    • Cry in my Gin says:

      12:56pm | 17/01/13

      Social networking is going to the pub on a Friday night and backstabbing people you know to their faces over a couple of beers and possibly a counter meal. All this other stuff is just ewank.

    • Bob the builder says:

      03:19pm | 17/01/13

      Claire the internet has made the world a village. Just like living in a village anything you say will be known by the whole village. Within 20 years we will be living like puritans in the 17th century terrified to say or do anything otherwise we will be condemned by the village.

      We got what we wished for a village, a global village.

    • Meph says:

      03:43pm | 17/01/13

      Geocities was a wretched hive of scum and villainy. About all it was good for was stress testing the (then) latest web browsers for memory leaks, and your own constitution against epileptic seizures.

    • Michellemac says:

      05:23pm | 17/01/13

      I don’t get the problem. I have pretty high security settings on my facebook profile which means people will only be able to see what they could see before. I regularly (as in at least monthly, often more that that) google myself and my facebook profile to see what comes up (because of my job) and then alter as needed (I have only needed to do this once in 6 years, for a ‘minor’ security breach). Facebook recently made this even easier by having an option to ‘search profile as’ so I can see exactly what others can seeabout me as if I were them.

      You can also choose to have messages from friends only, or friends of friends. I don’t see it as any different to face to face life…I talk about my friends and have often suggested matches etc amongst other friends and this is exactly that.

      I still have not found a solution for looking up people with vaguely common names though…Facebook still throws up pages and pages of possible matches and there is no way to narrow the search down if there is no prior facebook relation or friends/likes in common.


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