Yesterday, Facebook announced that it is officially ending the privacy setting that allowed users to hide themselves from showing up in Facebook search. Facebook removed the feature from people who weren’t using it in December, and now they plan to take it away permanently from everyone.
Instead of users blocking off their profile from search completely, Facebook is recommending that users instead control the privacy settings for each individual post on their Timeline.
“For the small percentage of people still using the setting, they will see reminders about it being removed in the coming weeks,” Facebook said in a blog post. “Whether you’ve been using the setting or not, the best way to control what people can find about you on Facebook is to choose who can see the individual things you share.”
Facebook has been trying hard to make its new Graph Search function a viable competitor to Google and other major search engines, so taking away people’s right to hide from it is doubtlessly part of their strategy to expand its reach. While users can still protect their own privacy one post at a time, the removal of this feature takes away a big layer of blanket protection. While Facebook expressed concerns that this feature gave users a “false sense of security,” it was also a valuable first line of defense against prying eyes.
It’s important to note that users can still block individual users from seeing their Timeline using Facebook’s blocking feature.
We recommend double checking your privacy settings and make sure everything is locked down accordingly:
Readers: were you using this privacy setting? If so, are you upset that it’s being removed?