Facebook finally rolled out its Universal Search feature this week across all platforms, making every public post on the site now searchable. According to Facebook, the tool will provide better search suggestions, connect users to public conversations and show public posts and posts from friends regarding search topics.
“When something happens in the world, people often turn to Facebook to see how their friends and family are reacting,” Facebook said in its announcement. “Today, we’re updating Facebook Search so that in addition to friends and family, you can find out what the world is saying about topics that matter to you.”
Of course, Facebook was quick to point out that users will only be able to see things that have been shared with them. But how can you know if your privacy settings are safe from this new far-reaching search? Easy: go to Facebook’s Privacy Settings and limit the audience for your past posts. You can also check out our complete walk-through on all of the Facebook’s privacy and security settings.
As The Huffington Post points out, this new search effectively eliminates any “privacy by obscurity” that existed on Facebook. In other words, you can no longer hide just by hoping no one finds you. Instead, users need to be more proactive than ever about checking their privacy settings.