Facebook makes every user discoverable by name

Once again, Facebook is doing away with a feature that many users didn’t even know they could use, but a small, privacy-conscious minority is glad to have (had).

Almost a year ago, along with scrapping Facebook user voting on privacy policies, Facebook announced the removal of the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” setting, and now the move is imminent.

As Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Michael Richter noted in a blog post, everyone used to have the aforementioned setting – which controlled whether you could be found when people typed your name into the Facebook search bar – but not a lot of people used it.

“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,” he writes.

The removal of the setting will be announced to those who still use it by a pop-up on their Facebook accounts.

At the same time, Richter pointed out, 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.

He advised users to visit their Privacy Settings and review them as well as the individual things they have already shared through the Activity Log.

While I do believe that Facebook is right to demand of its users to be responsible for the things they post and for deciding how much they wish to share with their friends, it’s not a realistic expectation that many will take on the responsibility or even know that they are expected to.

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