It always seemed a little silly to me when people would go onto Facebook and make it so that nobody could find them. It's called a social network for a reason, and using that option just seemed kind of counterintuitive to me. Why would someone want to be on there at all if they don't want people to be able to connect with them?
And now that option will no longer exist, at least not in its present form.
Facebook got rid of the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” setting last year for the vast majority of us who were not using it. And for those that still are, their days of trying to remain hidden on a network of over a billion people are finally up as well, as Facebook reminded everyone on Thursday.
So why get rid of it? First of all, because it was confusing for people who would try to search for their friends that they knew had an account, but who would not show up in the search results.
But, more importantly, it was outdated and did not really work anymore with Facebook's current features. In a way, this setting was almost setting up a false sense of security for those who did not want to be found. There are so many other ways to be found on the network now that it is almost pointless.
"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," Michael Richter, Chief Privacy Officer, explained in a blog post.
"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."
Instead, Facebook suggests that users "choose the audience of the individual things you share." That means changing the settings on each individual post, so that it will only be seen by those who that person wants to see it.
Facebook is not giving an option for users to put the same setting on each future post, but they are doing that for old posts, rather than making them go through each individual post they have put up over the last 10 years or so.
All they have to do is visit the privacy settings page and click on "Limit The Audience for Old Posts on Your Timeline."
"If you use this tool, content on your timeline you've shared with friends of friends or Public will change to Friends. Remember: people who are tagged and their friends may see those posts as well," the site explains.
"You also have the option to individually change the audience of your posts. Just go to the post you want to change and choose a different audience."
Now Facebook just needs to make it just as easy to do this for future posts and I think most people would be happy.
(Image source: http://joyhog.com)