Monday, February 18, 2013

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Facebook Graph Search Makes It Much Easier to Connect Second Life Users to Their Real Life Names -- Here's How to Keep SL & RL Separate

Facebook graph search Second Life identity

If you use your Facebook account in conjunction with your Second Life account in any way, and you're concerned about keeping your identity on either system separate, you should definitely reach this post by Strawberry Singh. Facebook is now rolling out Graph Search, which as the name suggests, links Facebook users' Likes and user-given demographic info to a search mechanism. So for example, you can search for Facebook users who live in San Francisco who like Thai food and model airplane building and tango, and come up with the very small number of people on Facebook who fit that search profile. In the case of Second Life, as Ms. Singh demonstrates, that means you can use Graph Search to look for people on Facebook who've liked any number of Second Life-oriented Facebook pages (including the official page, or for that matter, New World Notes on Facebook), and people from a specific city or region and any number of other real world, identifying details.

In other words: If you know enough biographical details about a given Second Life user on Facebook, you can probably use Graph Search to make a pretty good guess at their real life name.

If the relationship between your Second Life identity and you is public knowledge (like me), this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but many SLers prefer to keep their identities separate, often for very good reasons. Since Ms. Singh is an especially smart blogger, she's already created a YouTube tutorial for protecting yourself from being over-exposed on Graph Search -- watch below:

Basically the trick involves limiting how and to whom your Likes and biographical details are shared in relation to the broader, one billion-plus Facebook userbase.

On balance, the Graph Search is a very helpful tool for, say, connecting people with like-minded interests, or finding long-lost friends and relatives. However, people have a right to their privacy, and as we'll probably see as this function is opened to more Facebook users, many will raise concerns about how easy it is to connect their casual activity on Facebook with who they are offline.

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Edward Starsmith

This makes me very happy I closed out my Facebook account last year. They care nothing about privacy.

Iggy

I don't care for Facebook myself, but for this academic, it's interesting to watch the augmented and revealed selves of 2013 eclipse the immersed and alternative selves of 2007.

PhD dissertations in the making!

Ajax Manatiso

But if you're just too damn lazy to do the same likes with your SL character as your RL persona, or, like me, you don't have your RL persona on Facebook in the first place, -- it just doesn't work.

Shockwave Yareach

Simply refuse to LIKE Second Life, or any other business. And then the data farmers of Facebook have no data to work with anymore.

ZZ Bottom

Face what?

Ciaran Laval

This is getting very creepy and this really isn't healthy, this won't end well.

Metacam Oh

What Ciaran said. Facebook doesn't realize how fragile their business really is, yet they continue to push the boundaries of peoples privacy.

Adeon Writer

Sure is a good time to not have a Facebook account.

Oh wait, did someone say that already?

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