If you've been searching for that high school flame or old army buddy for years on Facebook, to no avail, you might want to give it another try now that the social media giant is forcing everyone out of the shadows.
Users who have selected the strictest privacy setting under “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” have been warned that the answer to that question is now "everyone."
Get Used To It
Last year, Facebook started phasing out the setting altogether, but gave those who opted to stay hidden some time to adjust to the idea of being public. Now, they can still choose to block individuals from finding them or seeing their posts on other people's pages, but there's no way to avoid turning up in Facebook's vaunted Graph Search, which makes it much easier to find people, places and stuff.
"Whether you’ve been using the setting or not, the best way to control what people can find about you on Facebook is to choose who can see the individual things you share," wrote chief privacy officer Michael Richter in a post on Facebook's Newsroom Thursday.
Richter noted that the feature wasn't foolproof anyway -- users could still be located via posts and likes on mutual friends' pages or tagged photos.
"The setting also made Facebook's search feature feel broken at times," he added. "For example, people told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."
People still using the hide-my-profile feature should now be seeing a notification that says "We're removing the setting because it isn't as useful as it was before, and now there are better ways to manage your privacy using privacy shortcuts."
Users must select "I understand" or "learn more."
But it seems obvious to many observers that as Facebook continues to reign as the globally dominant social network, under pressure to drive up its stock price with growing revenue, the company's primary interest is in promoting the maximum amount of interaction between all users and minimizing shyness. More people on Facebook spending more time deepens their commitment to the brand and makes it easier to show ads to those users.
"That's the problem with Facebook. It's like a real two-sided coin. One side is the service that users like. The other side are all the rules that most users don't like," said technology analyst Jeff Kagan.
"The problem is, users have not avoided the service, so Facebook keeps stomping on privacy rights. Users think they should be able to control the extent of what is public and private. Facebook says no they shouldn't. Facebook will decide," he added.
Posted: 2013-10-11 @ 6:01pm PT
Here are some sites worth checking out that offer privacy:
Ravetree (social network)