Facebook Smear Campaign a Bust, but Questions Valid

Google Social Search is too broad—but Facebook could do something about it
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2011 11:55 AM CDT
Facebook's Google Smear Campaign a Bust, but Questions Valid
The intense rivalry between Facebook and Google just got juicier as the latest Silicon Valley drama evoked talk of smear campaigns.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

(Newser) – Facebook's recent "smear campaign" against Google may have been bad PR, but the social media giant had a good point—Google's "social search" function can be problematically thorough, even when users takes steps to protect their privacy, writes Lauren Indvik at Mashable. "I have always been vaguely aware that Google knows essentially everything about me, but knowing that anyone can look through my various social connections and networks associated with my name from my personal email address is still a bit of a shock," says Indvik.

While Google only uses public information for its profiles, its search engine can go through your websites and other information to find secondary social connections that perhaps users did not want listed in their profiles. Still, Indvik says that Facebook is no hero here, and is most likely motivated by annoyance that Google has found a way to use Facebook data without engaging Facebook's advertising revenue system. But Facebook could do something about it. "After all, the only Facebook information that can appear in Google’s search results are those that are public status updates," she writes. "If Facebook encouraged users to lock down their accounts, they could limit the usefulness of Google’s data-mining efforts." (Read more Facebook privacy stories.)

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