searching Facebook

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 18 04:23:46 UTC 2010

New search tools appear every day. One making the news today serves a
dual function of finding the words you need /and/ scaring the pants
off you as to how non-private Facebook is.

This may be a problem to Facebook users, but it's a boon to any
researcher who want to see the frequency of some current expressions
that Google otherwise does not find. So, if there is some expression
you're looking for that you've heard on the street, but Google finds
very little, you can extend the search by using Openbook. What's
> Via Kieran Healy, this is perhaps the most graphic illustration ever of Facebook's privacy problems. Making use of a public programming interface that Facebook released a few weeks ago, three programmers in San Francisco wrote Openbook, a website that searches Facebook profiles for — well, for anything you want. Because I'm basically a nice guy, I've illustrated this with a relatively innocuous search for "rectal exam" and then blurred out the results. But other popular searches include "playing hooky," "boss is an asshole," and so forth. You get the idea.
> So what's the point of this? Here's what the authors say:
>> Our goal is to get Facebook to restore the privacy of this information, so that this website and others like it no longer work....This website is a parody, and has no relationship to Facebook.

For example, you hear someone refer to his "fucked up ass life".
Pretend, for a moment, that Google does not find any examples
(actually 176K raw ghits).

This gives you a few. More to the point, these are /current/ status
updates. You know /exactly/ when they are posted.

YMMV, of course. It's not meant to be a precision tool.


The American Dialect Society -

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