Facebook is removing a privacy feature that enables users to remain hidden from searches.
Elimination of the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” setting means Facebook users will no longer have any control of who can look up their profile using the website’s search tool.
“The setting was created when Facebook was a simple directory of profiles and it was very limited.
For example, it didn’t prevent people from navigating to your Timeline by clicking your name in a story in News Feed, or from a mutual friend’s Timeline,” Facebook chief privacy officer Michael Richter wrote in a blog.
Richter added it “made Facebook’s search feature feel broken at times”, and users found it “confusing”.
Facebook is in the process of changing the search features for its 1.2 billion users and the social media giant claims that fewer than one per cent use the old search setting.
Richter told Facebook users that they’ll be individually responsible for determining what information people not on their friends list can see about them if their profile was discovered through the new search setting.
“The best way to control what people can find about you is to choose the audience of the individual things you share,” he said, adding that Facebook alerts will let users know if their profile is set to public and thus can be seen by any Facebook user.
“In the coming weeks, people who are sharing posts publicly on Facebook will also see a notice reminding them that those posts can be seen by anyone, including people they may not know.
The notice reminds people how to change the audience for each post,” wrote Richter.
Facebook’s attitude to the privacy of its users has long been criticised. Earlier this year a court ordered Facebook to pay a $20m settlement for breaching users’ privacy.