Facebook is removing a privacy setting that enables people to hide their profiles from the social networking site’s search function.
The company is unhappy that its search appears to be broken when people are searching for friends they know are on Facebook.
The setting called “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” was removed last year for Facebook account-holders who were not using it.
Now the social networking firm is to remove it from those who are.
Facebook argues that only a “small percentage” of members are using it, but does not say exactly what that percentage is.
The social networking firm also argues that other privacy settings – introduced to enable members to choose who can see individual things they share – provide a better way of controlling what people can find about them.
The new controls were introduced after continual criticism from privacy groups that Facebook’s privacy controls were difficult to use and for its policy of making user content publicly available by default.
“The old setting was created when Facebook was a simple directory of profiles and it was very limited,” said Michael Richter, chief privacy officer at Facebook.
“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,” he wrote in a blog post.
Richter also points out that people can now also search Facebook using Graph Search, for example, “People who live in Seattle”.
He said this makes it even more important for members to control the privacy of the things they share, rather than how others get to their Timeline.
In the coming weeks, Facebook plans to remind members who are sharing posts publicly that those posts can be seen by anyone. Notices will remind members on how to control the audience for each post.
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