Melbourne: American software engineers and developers have unveiled a website that allows you to search through the status updates of Facebook users across the world.
The site, Openbook, hunts for status updates written by people who haven’t set them to private.
For example, a search for "sad" returns over two dozen status updates posted within the last 60 seconds, by users.
A user from Canberra said: "pretty good day today (: bit sad that I cant go to netball).
Another from Phoenix, Arizona wrote: "Had so much fun at Applebee’s! Hahaha: D tonight was sad but good."
The search results throw up each user’s name, photo and a link to their profile alongside the full text of their status and can be filtered to include only men, only women or everyone.
The creators of Openbook say they developed the site to draw attention to Facebook’s recent controversial privacy changes that mean more information about each user is set to public by default.
"To us, it was immediately clear that many people’s privacy was being breached," News.com.au quoted developer Peter Burns, as saying.
He added: "But in this raw form it was also clear that only very technical folks would understand what was happening.
"Someone has to draw attention to this breach of privacy in a way that people will understand.
"We’ve seen people post their private medical history, their phone numbers, their home addresses, personal tragedies and private moments with loved ones."
Taking about Facebook`s policy and its consequences, Burns said: "They change the rules frequently and give no indication when you’re sharing something with the entire planet."
"An insurance company could build a database of people engaging in risky behaviour or exhibiting precursors to expensive medical conditions.
"(Or) thieves could look for status updates indicating people would be out of town on extended vacations."
Will Moffat and James Home from California were also part of the team that came up with the new site.