Physicist by education, journalist by occupation. Works for Media Initiatives Center.
Facebook has never been the best place to search for content.
Facebook Graph Search allows everyone to search public information on Facebook (posts, photos, videos, etc. that are publicly available on Facebook).
From June 6, Facebook has made Graph Search more limited and non-transparent.
Due to changes in Graph Search, searching on the world’s largest social network has become more complicated. The work of news and fact-checking organizations such as Bellingcat and other groups have become especially complicated.
There were several tools to facilitate Facebook search, which were created under different projects. They would present the complicated Graph Search in a simplified way. For example Hank van Ess’ Graph Tips or the tool which has gained popularity in Armenia, Stalkscan.
These sites have allowed for small investigations on social media to identify links between different people. They were very important journalistic tools that helped to keep track of publicly shown activities in the network without violating personal privacy.
If you log in to Stalkscan now, you will find that you are only permitted to search your own Facebook account. More complex and broad searches will not work.
The spokesperson for Facebook told Vice that they decided to temporarily pause Graph Search because people were searching using keywords. Facebook will focus more on improving their keyword search.
Free search advocates on Facebook, including many developers, are not giving up. Another tool for finding a new algorithm on Facebook is already available. It’s still a pilot and doesn’t always give the information that’s needed, but with the help of social networks, advocates supporting publicly important investigations continue to work on making Facebook a more searchable network.