Facebook eliminates the option to stay invisible on search

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz
Facebook eliminates the option to stay invisible on search

Facebook has taken another step toward turning the social media website into a mine-able database of human information.

The company has announced it will fully eliminate users' option to control who can search for their names and find their profiles, meaning everyone will be searchable unless they have been individually blocked.

The setting "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" once let users decide if they wanted to be found through searches by friends, friends of friends or the public at large. However, Facebook removed the setting last year for anyone who wasn't already using it, and Chief Privacy Officer Michael Richter wrote in a blog post on Thursday that soon no one would be able to stay invisible entirely.

[ Related: Facebook axes privacy feature that let users hide profiles from search ]

Richter wrote the company was eliminating the setting because hardly anyone used it, and because it interfered with the site's search function — particularly its new streamlined Graph Search.

"The setting also made Facebook's search feature feel broken at times. 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," Richter wrote.

He recommended using the privacy settings on individual posts to control who could see what you're sharing.

The change and Facebook's understated announcement of what it means has raised privacy concerns. Tech Crunch's Josh Constine notes those trying to hide, especially from specific people, could have a tough time when someone can simply create new profiles and sniff them out again through search.