In an innocuous post entitled ‘Finishing the Removal of an Old Search Setting’, Facebook finally removed the setting to hide yourself from searches on the social network. This setting was removed last December for anyone not using it, and a reminder is now being sent to anyone else that the setting is being disabled.
In the place of the old global setting, Facebook gives you control over who sees every separate post on your timeline. You can edit your about section, changing each setting to ‘only me‘ if you want to make sure people can’t find out about you, but you won’t be able to hide your name any more.
Your profile picture and cover photo are always visible in public searches, so if you don’t want people to know who you are, it’s important not to put your face in these photos. You can block specific people from being able to find you, but not the general public. Users who wanted to stay unfindable on Facebook may find life on the social network difficult.
To be fair to Facebook, the privacy controls you are given for each post on Facebook are good, although you have to learn to get used to using them. Even if someone finds your name on Facebook, if your settings are correct they won’t be able to see photos of you, about information or timeline posts. However, this development is definitely a blow for people who want easy control over who can find them on Facebook.
Read more about privacy:
- Passwords: a necessary evil, but not forever
- NSA Scandal: How closely is Big Brother watching us?
- Facebook Graph Searches now include status updates and comments
- Anonymous Browsing: Comparing Tor, JonDo, VPN and web proxies