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Facebook last night launched new search functionality called Graph Search.

Writing on the 'Facebook + Journalists' group, Vadim Lavrusik, journalism programme manager at Facebook, says the new tool will "make it easier for journalists to discover potential sources and public photos" when reporting.

He adds: "Because Graph Search is in early stages of development, the first version focuses on four main areas: people, photos, places and interests."

He says that the tool will act as "a rolodex of 1 billion potential sources" for reporters, enabling journalists "to do richer searches when trying to find an expert for a story".

Photos can also be searched for by location.

Lavrusik adds that the new functionality also enables people to find journalists on Facebook. It is therefore worth considering whether or not you describe yourself as a journalist on your profile and taking a look at your privacy settings, which can be amended here.

Facebook attempted to allay privacy concerns during the announcement, stating that users can only search for content that has been already been shared with them.

Journalists can add themselves to the waiting list to request the new search functionality. The initial roll-out of Graph Search is for English-language users only.

While you are waiting

This improvement to Facebook's search functionality has been a long time coming.

In the meantime other options include using Google's advanced operators. You could type "John Smith RIP", if working on a story about the death of John Smith, for example.

Facebook site search

Or you can use Open Status Search. This includes a tool to embed a live search within a news story or blog post.

Related reading

MuckRack: What journalists should do about Facebook graph search
Poynter: Finally, a real search function for Facebook

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