Facebook user profiles no longer excluded from search

Facebook user profiles no longer excluded from search

Summary: Users of the social media network can no longer hide their profiles from folks searching for their names, a privacy feature which Facebook says was used only by "a small percentage" of users.

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All user profiles can now be searched on Facebook.

Facebook users can no longer hide their profiles from others who search their names on the social media network. 

In a note issued Thursday, the company's chief privacy officer Michael Richter said a privacy setting that controlled "Who can look up your Timeline by name" had been removed. This effectively meant the profile of anyone with an account on the site can now be viewed publicly by others who type the user's name in the Facebook search bar. 

This setting was removed as an option last year for anyone who weren't using it, so Thursday's announcement would affect those who had turned on this feature in their privacy settings--a number, which Richter said, was "a small percentage" among its 1.15 billion monthly active users. 

Affected users would receive reminders in the following weeks about the removal, he said, noting that users should control every individual post they shared on Facebook to manage what others were able to view about them on the site.

Richter said the move was part of the company's efforts to improve its Graph Search and overall search feature, which felt "broken" by the "Who can look up your Timeline by name" setting. "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," he said.

With the removal of this privacy setting, job applicants may want to better manage what they share on the  site, especially since 56 percent of employers checked the profiles of candidates on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 

Topics: Privacy, Social Enterprise

About

Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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7 comments
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  • I don't think privacy settings should be a popularity contest.

    "a number, which Richter said, was 'a small percentage' among its 1.15 billion monthly active users."

    Big enough apparently for people to notice - which tells me it may not be as small as they're claiming.

    And, to be honest, I don't think privacy controls should be based on usage. So what if only a small percentage use it? Privacy is an important concept, and shouldn't be pushed out for mere business reasons. I don't think the setting is really causing major harm to them.

    "Richter said the move was part of the company's efforts to improve its Graph Search and overall search feature, which felt 'broken' by the 'Who can look up your Timeline by name' setting."

    . . . and there ya go - it's their "gotta make everything public" philosophy. They only really added privacy controls under customer pressure to begin with. Now they're eroding it away; I see them trying to do even more of this in the future.

    "With the removal of this privacy setting, job applicants may want to better manage what they share on the site, especially since 56 percent of employers checked the profiles of candidates on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter."

    Although keep in mind that search probably wasn't the only way to stumble across one's profile to begin with, and you should have the rest of your page locked down anyways. Although that doesn't really excuse their actions.
    CobraA1
    • Freedom of speech

      What people do on their own time is NOT a reflection of how they act on the job. And America would rather offshore and sell off everything anyway (even a politician thinks we should sell off non-revenue generating land like the grand canyon... talk about selling out this country and to a backwards economic paradigm...)
      HypnoToad72
  • Time to Switch to Zurker

    Facebook users it's time now to switch to social network like Zurker which gives you absolute privacy. https://www.zurker.com
    komkus
    • No such thing as privacy online

      Absolute privacy doesn't exist anywhere online your deluding yourself if you think any site can promise you that.
      Lancaster21V
      • Life is what we make of it

        Why do you champion a devolved police state?
        HypnoToad72
  • If you have your privacy set correctly, all they'll be

    able to see is your portrait and your cover photo. To check your privacy settings, just create a facebook user and make sure it isn't friends with you, your wife, or kids. Then search them and see what displays. Adjust privacy settings accordingly.
    baggins_z
    • That's a great idea...

      never thought of that... it's simple and straightforward, and lets you know what others see of your profile.
      kstap