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While it's (probably) true that the information is already available, it's not easily available.

If it's going to take me 25 days of tedious profile reading to find people who I seek (e.g. "Lesbian women from Greece who like Doritos"), I'm not going to do it. It's not practically available.

Graph Search changes that. Obscurity vanishes, along with any security it provided.

By 25 days of profile reading, I think you mean 2 days of writing a scraper and 10 days of tuning it? The rest being spent letting it run, reading hacker news, reddit, and your friends' facebook updates.

Facebook doesn't let any random bot crawl Facebook with scrapers. If you go to:


it says:

# Notice: if you would like to crawl Facebook you can

# contact us here: http://www.facebook.com/apps/site_scraping_tos.php

# to apply for white listing. Our general terms are available

# at http://www.facebook.com/apps/site_scraping_tos_terms.php

(Then there's a bunch of "Disallow:" statements for Baidu, Google, etc.)

If you follow the link, you can apply to Facebook for permission to do "automated data collection." Even if you do get permission, Facebook is very restrictive with what you're allowed to do with the scraped data.

You might not do it, but the organizations with resources and power to actually harm you certainly could.

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