Facebook testing Graph Search on mobile with ability to resurface old content by keyword

Facebook 13.1 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)Facebook 13.1 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

The social networking behemoth, Facebook, in a bid to help folks resurface content that may otherwise be buried is reportedly testing a new feature that would let people using its mobile apps search through old posts from friends by keyword, Bloomberg reported Friday.

There’s no word on when Facebook’s 1+ billion users who predominantly access the service on smartphones and tablets can expect to use Graph Search on mobile, though the report makes it clear the feature’s been in closed testing for quite some time now.

Calling it “an improvement to search on mobile” in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, the feature apparently allows you to find any piece of content your friends or pages you follow shared at any point in the past.

Bloomberg stated that the feature is part of Facebook’s Graph Search product which is currently being rolled out in a limited fashion to some users. Of course, private posts from friends and those you are not allowed to see won’t pop up in your search results.

Capable of crawling all of Facebook’s data with queries like “my friends who like Japanese food,” “Posts I commented on,” “Photos posted at LEX,” “Posts about Breaking Bad by my friends,” “Posts by my family about dogs” and more, Graph Search debuted on desktop in January of 2013.

Although the company was caught testing Graph Searcc on mobile this February — and on the iPhone as far back as October 2013 — to this date the feature hasn’t formally released to Facebook’s massive mobile user base.

For Facebook, it’s paramount to keep users glued to the platform in order to grow ad revenue. The more time people spend on Facebook interacting with their friends and Pages, the higher the chances they’ll click on personalized advertisements.

The company recently stepped up fight against spammy and low-value posts in the News Feed, such as so-called viral content and Like-baiting posts as the one depicted below.


Then on Monday, the company announced it will be putting new rules into effect to further combat click-baiting headlines by making changes to the News Feed algorithm.

“We will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link,” the company said, “or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them”.

Additional updates to sharing links in posts should discourage people from posting linkbait content in photo comments and help put and end to click-bait URLs in status updates (see below).

Facebook (linkbait statuses 001)

An internal study has shown that Facebook users prefer clicking on links displayed in the proper link format, which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post.

Links buried in photo captions and inserted into the text of the status update raise red flags with seasoned users because they typically indicate suspicious content or phishing scams, to which Facebook is not immune.

Facebook (linkbait statuses 002)

The proper link format ensures, Facebook argues, that you can decide if you want to click through, especially on mobile devices which have a smaller screen.

“With this update, we will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates,” announced the firm.