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Facebook allows full personal data ransack with Graph Search

Posts, updates, the lot. Our ad sales will boom. Mwu-ha-haaaa ... bitch

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Stalkers and advertisers will be pleased to know that Facebook is now more searchable than it has ever been, after the social network confirmed that it was in the process of allowing users to dig much deeper into a "friend's" past posts on the free content ad network.

The Mark Zuckerberg-run company has been chasing larger ad bucks in a move to cheer investors on Wall Street. And in recent months, the strategy has started to pay off.

Facebook unzipped its Graph Search feature at the start of this year. It came with limited functions at the time, but the system was Zuck's first clear signal to advertisers that he was finally getting serious about search and - by extension - advertising, from which the billionaire derives around 85 per cent of his company's revenues.

Significantly, while Facebook has a close working relationship with Microsoft, it had enough foresight to recognise that its search feature needed to be completely autonomous within the Menlo Park silo.

MS still powers external search requests for Facebookers. But the juicy stuff locked inside the network is controlled completely by Zuck's engineers.

Facebook said of Graph Search on Monday:

Now you will be able to search for status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments to find things shared with you.

But it was keen to add that a user's privacy would not be violated on the network.

As with other things in Graph Search, you can only see content that has been shared with you, including posts shared publicly by people you are not friends with.

Fears about perverts using Graph Search to prey on teenagers on the network were raised earlier this year. Facebook was forced to say that controls would be in place to protect young people. But the system is flawed, because it relies on kids and adults to be honest about their age when signing up to Facebook - which is not robustly policed by the company.

The new function is slowly being rolled out to a small number of users for now. As Google and Twitter, the latter of which is prepping for its IPO, understand only too well, watching in near real-time which searches are popular on those services is key to satisfying hungry admen. ®

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