Facebook Privacy Setting Change Makes Everybody Searchable Again
October 11, 2013

Facebook Privacy Setting Change Makes Everybody Searchable Again

Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Facebook is changing its privacy settings again. This time it is making everybody searchable, meaning users now will need to adjust privacy settings on individual posts moving forward. The changes were detailed in a Newsroom post on Facebook written by Michael Richter, chief privacy officer for the social network.

A small percentage of people use the search setting, according to Richter. That percentage is only a single-digit percentage of the nearly 1.2 billion people on the network, reports Mail Online. While that seems inconsequential, a commenter on the article notes that it could affect as many as 1.2 million people.

The setting was removed to improve Graph Search, a feature that lets users search their friend's networks; geographies or other interests to find topics or like individuals. Graph Search was impeded because the users who set privacy on search did not come up in search results. The setting also made those users invisible in searches by friends.

"The setting also made Facebook's search feature feel broken at times. For example, people told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search," Richter wrote.

Facebook users who have their search settings on private will be notified by a message that appears on the user's homepage. Users will have the option to acknowledge, learn more, or get a reminder later.

For users who are concerned about their profiles, Facebook's Richter advises them to review all of their previous posts, and change settings on each post individually. On each new post users have the option to change the settings on that individual post, to make the post viewable only to friends, or even certain friends.

This is a good time for all users to review their Facebook settings, and go over all posts, ReadWriteWeb advises.

"Facebook just killed the privacy feature that controlled who could search for your profile by first or last name. The company actually eliminated this feature last year for users who didn't have the setting checked, but now it is delivering the coup de grace even for those who actually use it," ReadWriteWeb's Selena Larson wrote.

The setting will remain active for those users who actually use the search setting, until users click "OK, I Understand."

Richter advises users on how to control what people see across Facebook:

1. Share each post with the people you want to be able to see it. You control this every time you post.

2. Use Activity Log to review individual things you've already shared. Here you can delete things you may not want to appear on Facebook anymore, untag photos and change the privacy of past posts.

3. Ask friends and others to remove anything they may have shared about you that you don't want on the site. You can do this by reaching out to the person directly, or using the reporting feature, also available in Activity Log.