News Byte: Facebook Ends Search Privacy Feature

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Source: Tony Fischer via Flickr Creative Commons
Source: Tony Fischer via Flickr Creative Commons

Facebook has axed a search privacy feature that allowed users to determine who could find them on the social media site. Facebook announced that they would retire the feature—called “Who can look up your Timeline by name?”—last December, and started phasing it out, beginning with Facebookers who weren't using the feature. Yesterday, Facebook fully ended it.

In a blog post, the company's Chief Privacy Officer Michael Richter wrote that only a “small percentage” of Facebook users had activated that feature, which was obsolete and limited. “The setting also made Facebook's search feature feel broken at time,” he wrote. “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.”

Facebook users who want to retain greater privacy must now choose the privacy settings of each individual post, delete posts they don't want to share, or leave Facebook altogether.

The company's alteration of its privacy settings has typically irritated watchdog groups and consumers, and it remains to be seen what effect, if any, this latest development will have among Facebook's billion-plus monthly unique users.

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