Facebook user profiles no longer excluded from search

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.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor
Facebook search
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. 

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