Chances are high that some time this week, you will see a personal message on your account about updates to the Facebook privacy settings. Facebook tends to roll in its changes gradually, so it should be expected that not everyone will be notified at once; what’s happening is that the Facebook team is getting rid of one of the main privacy settings. In the past, registered users have been able to control their Facebook privacy settings by personalizing an option called “Who can look up your Timeline by name”; this feature is slated to go.
This particular setting could be manipulated by users to control who could find you by searching for your name: friends, friends of friends, or the general public. Using this setting made it much easier for members to heighten their Facebook privacy and keep their profiles more low-key. Although this setting is being eradicated from the system, Facebook insists that the privacy of its members is not being compromised:
“Anyone will be able to look up your Timeline by your name — but if they go to your Timeline, they’ll only see what they already have permission to see. Removing this setting doesn’t change who can see your photos, status updates or other things you’ve shared.”
This means that Facebook profiles will no longer be invisible to certain people unless they have already been officially blocked by other users. Site administrators say the reason for the Facebook privacy changes is the fact that there are now so many different ways for a profile to be discovered on the site. For example, one’s profile might be seen through a tagged photo, group comments or via the new Graph Search feature. When the “Who can look up your timeline” feature was introduced, a name-search was the only way to find someone’s profile. With the modernization of the site, this feature is all but obsolete.
So how can users keep their updates, photos and information out of the hands of strangers and untrustworthy people? Staff say that all a user needs to do to keep his or her Facebook privacy set on high is to use the Privacy Shortcuts link at the top of any Facebook page. The Privacy Shortcuts link is a small icon that looks like a padlock; once you click it, there are three main options: “Who can see my stuff?” “Who can contact me?” And “How do I stop someone from bothering me?”
Two “Who can look you up?” features will remain in the privacy settings: email addresses and phone numbers. You also have the option of linking your Timeline to search engines or keeping your name out of non-Facebook search lists. Although anyone with an active Facebook account will now be searchable by name, users can still keep tighter security on other options, such as who can send messages or who can send friend requests. Another feature allows individuals tagged in others’ photos to remove said tags and request that photos be removed.
Written by Mandy Gardner
Facebook – personal notification