Facebook experienced yet another controversy when users thought that their off platform searches are linked to Facebook and that the platform could access their personal search history.
But last week, Facebook, which handles around 1.5 billion searches, confirmed that searches off of the platform do not influence Facebook search results. In order to be more transparent towards their audiences, Facebook cleared the air on how the Facebook search graph works.
Factors that influence Facebook search:
Facebook search results are based on the user’s behavior on the platform. The posts they share, posts shared by Friends, Pages they follow, Facebook Groups they belong to, events they’ve liked or followed and any other content they’ve interacted with within the News Feed. Most of the time, the search is also based on the information the user shares with Facebook, profile details or even the previous searches they’ve performed on the app.
Yee Lee, the product manager of Facebook wrote, “Facebook search results are also based on general Facebook community activity, including the popularity of whatever you’re searching for and how recently it was posted.”
Activity on the platform matters:
All actions which a user takes on the platform affects the search results, whereas the actions a user performs off platform have nothing to do with Facebook.
“We want to be more transparent about what happens when you search for content on Facebook. So to help set the stage, we created a video to help the people who use Facebook understand the fundamentals of how it works — most importantly, that while search results are influenced by people’s activity on Facebook, they’re not influenced by searches done off of Facebook,” writes Lee.
Facebook and privacy:
Privacy is the topmost factor that Facebook is currently focusing on. The last controversy that they faced made them apologize to all users for failing to safeguard user data and keep it out of the hands of the people who might misuse it. They also made sure that a user’s post will only surface in search results for people they’re connected to: “Things that you share with your friends will only end up in the search results for those friends.”
The diverse experiences and perspectives that are shared on Facebook can’t be found anywhere else. Your search results are personalized and unique to you and, as always, you can only see things that have been shared with you.
Likewise, you control who can see your posts on Facebook and it’s easy to change the audience of your past posts at any time.