Facebook: Getting rid of “Privacy Option”.

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Facebook had an old privacy setting, called “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” which gave users the option to not appear in Facebook search results. Back in December 2012 Facebook announced it would be retiring that option and the social network began eliminating it, at first from the accounts of people who weren’t using it. Finally in October 2013 Facebook announced it would be completing the removal of that setting for the “small percentage of people who still using it”. So, what does this mean? Well basically means that all members will now be made available in the search engine on Facebook. 

However, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Michael Richter, explained why Facebook do this change and why we do not have to worry about. This development did not (as claimed in some alarmist messages spread on the Internet), “delete all privacy settings on Facebook,” nor did Facebook “get rid of its privacy policy” (and the change certainly had nothing to do with the Obama administration or the U.S. government). 

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. Today, people can also search Facebook using Graph Search (for example, “People who live in Seattle,”) making it even more important to control the privacy of the things you share rather than how people get to your Timeline.

The setting also made Facebook’s search feature feel broken at times. For example, people said that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn’t find in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn’t find each other through search. So, this is the reason – actually this is what Facebook told as a reason- about getting rid of the privacy option.

Of course, if you are still worry about all these, then it will be good to know what you can do to control your privacy. Here it is some steps you can follow:

1) The best way to control what people can find about you on Facebook is to choose who can see the individual things you share. To enforce this point, Facebook will notify users making a public post on their timeline that people they don’t know may be able to see their activity.

2) In addition, users can still block specific people from seeing their own Timeline.

3) If your whereabouts or similar information are sensitive, particularly if it’s a safety issue, you should be very aware of locations on your posts (no check-ins) and be careful about writing posts that give clues about where you are.

4) Users should also remember that they can always block specific users from seeing their Facebook page or from contacting them, but this is more of a reactive step than a proactive one. Plus, just as you could alter your name (yes, in violation of Facebook’s guidelines) to hide your identity, so could anyone who is looking for you.

5) If you’re concerned about past posts, Facebook has a setting that lets you limit the audience for posts and information that are already on your profile. You can also go to the “Activity Log” on your timeline to get an action-by-action view of how your activity shows up on the site.

6) And finally, as Facebook itself makes clear, remember that “things you hide from your timeline still appear in news feed, search and other places on Facebook.” There include some things you just can’t hide, namely profile pictures and cover photos, but also some news feed activity.

In conclusion, Facebook claims that getting rid of the privacy option will not heart anyone. But if you are still worrying then control your privacy as better as you can. After all the choice to get a Facebook account is all yours!

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