Facebook will not let you hide from search results anymore

In the shadows of the Facebook Graph Search announcement, Facebook has quietly removed the ability to opt your profile out of search results on the site.

In the shadows of the Facebook Graph Search announcement, Facebook has quietly removed the ability to opt your profile out of search results on the site. Facebook changed its privacy policy a month before the launch of the Graph Search in a way that users cannot choose to stay off the search results.

The Graph Search relies on results gathered from users on Facebook for it to be effective. Users can search for ‘People in my city who like Game of Thrones’ and there is a good chance your name might pop up in the results if you have indicated that you indeed like the show. This will happen despite the fact that you may have requested your profile be off search results on Facebook when someone searches for you.

Images from friends pop-up in a neat style

Nowhere to hide from Facebook Search


In December, Facebook made certain changes to its privacy policy that helps Graph Search become more implementable. The new section, which went into effect on December 11, reads, “When you hide things on your timeline, like posts or connections, it means those things will not appear on your timeline. But, remember, anyone in the audience of those posts or who can see a connection may still see it elsewhere, like on someone else’s timeline or in search results. You can also delete or change the audience of content you post.”

Before this section went into effect, users could have hidden their profile or even basic information off it from non-friends, so much so that if someone who doesn’t have common friends with you tried to search for you, your profile would not turn up.

After the launch of Graph Search, it looks like these ‘hidden’ profiles would be a bit of a hindrance to the new feature. Facebook has to rely on user generated information like check-ins, likes and other profile information to make Graph Search effective.

The new Graph Search was revealed to the world in a press event by Facebook on January 15. This new, reformed search feature that Zuckerberg has referred to as the ‘third pillar’ of the social networking website promises to help users discover human connections in their social sphere, tailored to suit their needs.

As far as privacy goes, Facebook had assured that you could control the audience of each post and said that you could look over every single post you’ve made and change privacy through the Activity Log. But now you cannot opt out of search results entirely.

Facebook Product Director Sam Lessin had said during the change that only a “single-digit percentage of users” had opted out of appearing in search results on Facebook. Considering Facebook has a billion users today, even one percent users translates to 10 million people.

Facebook Graph Search is slowly being rolled out to the users, with many queuing up on Facebook’s page for access. It is only a matter of time before your once hidden profile becomes public thanks to the newest Facebook feature.

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