A recent change to Facebook's privacy settings now makes it possible for all users to be found through the site's search function. Previously, users could specify whether or not they wanted to show up in search results, but the social network quietly removed that privacy feature today, downplaying its removal in a blog post.
In a blog post announcing the change, the company's Chief Privacy Officer, Michael Richter, gave several reasons for the change, such as that:
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, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search.
That second example is understandable, but that first example is the function doing exactly what it was supposed to do.
In its move to Graph Search, Facebook emphasized the privacy controls it has for individual posts as a away to avoiding prying eyes. In other word, as Valleywag put it:
Basically, Facebook puts the onus on its users. With every photo and status update and comment you share, you have to think about who you want to be able to see it now or search for it in perpetuity. Realistically, who's gonna do that?
The feature disappeared for users who hadn't activated it a few months ago, but should now have disappeared from all users' settings.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.