Facebook Kills Its Search Privacy Setting: Now Anyone Can Find You on Facebook

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: October 16th, 2013 | Updated: August 2nd, 2019

Facebook Kills Its Search Privacy Setting

So you think you’re safe from being searched by anyone on Facebook? Think again. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his gang have decided to kill one of its privacy settings, which is among the most important and highly valued privacy option of countless Facebookers.

Facebook users once had the option to block other users from finding their profiles by searching their first or last names. This prevents people who just randomly search individuals on Facebook to add people they don’t know, which certain users obviously do not want to experience.

The said removal actually started last year, but only affected users who did not activate the specific setting. This time, however, the change will apply to everyone who has a Facebook account.

It is important to take note though, that the search setting will not disappear instantaneously but instead will only be removed once users receive a notification and have clicked a button that says, “Okay, I understand,” which will mean they approve of the said change. These notifications are reported to come out in the following weeks, but not anytime today.

The elimination of the said setting is causing quite an uproar among Facebookers, which the company has reported to have created way back when Facebook was just a simple profile directory. The decision to remove the search privacy setting was partly due to the introduction of the Graph Search, a feature that allows a user to search for other people, open groups, and status updates.

Most of the people that are worried over this recent development are those that are not comfortable with the idea that people they do not know can look them up just by entering their names. Back then, only friends and friends of friends can look you up in the search box but not for long, and that’s when it gets tricky.

This is why you need to do what you can with what’s left of the privacy options that Facebook has. Here are some of the settings that you should check or use before they too become nonexistent.

  • Activity Log – If you still haven’t checked your Activity Log, then now is the time to take a look at it. You’d be surprised to see all your past Facebook activities stored all in one page. Facebook does a good job of tracking what you did all the way back to the day you created your own profile.

Not only can you view all your previous posts, messages, pictures and status updates that you were tagged in, likes, and comments, you can also delete any activity that you can find there. It is actually quite amusing, and horrifying at the same time, for users to see what they have been doing on Facebook since they started.

  • Privacy Settings – On the web, click on the gear icon on the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook page, or if you’re using a mobile version, click the menu icon (with three horizontal lines or bars), scroll down and find the privacy settings button (lock icon) that is located at the left side of the page.

This section is where the recently removed setting used to be. The good news is, you still get to decide if you want to be found by someone who is searching for you using your email or contact number.

In addition, you can also tweak your privacy settings and decide who can see your posts. You can even choose to make your previous posts private and determine which among your friends can view your future posts by default.

  • Timeline and Tagging Settings – Once you’re done with your privacy settings, browse other options on the left side of your tab if you’re using the web version. If you’re on the mobile version, go to the privacy settings page, click on the “more settings” option and you’ll see the timeline and tagging settings.

Here you can see who is tagging you in their posts and control what gets to be published among all the posts where you are tagged. You can choose to accept or deny, just make sure that you turn on the “review posts” setting.

Another important feature is that you can determine who gets to tag you in posts and who can view your timeline. Regarding facial recognition in photos uploaded on Facebook, all users receive tag suggestions of their friends, which is quite an alarming thought for some. You can turn off this feature if you’re one of those people who worry and get irked at the thought of having their friends recognize their faces automatically, especially on those not-so-flattering photos.

  • Deactivate or Delete Account – Last but not the least, you can opt to deactivate your account if you want to take a breather from all the social media buzz for an indefinite period of time. However, if you want to take it a step further and actually say goodbye to the Facebook community by deleting your Facebook profile, you can.

Just visit the security settings to start deactivating or deleting your account. Take note that deactivating your account retains all your previous and current information, which includes your posts, friends, photos, interests, liked pages, and other personal activity since the creation of your profile because deactivating means you still have plans to return and become active in the future.

Deleting, however, means that your entire existence on the social networking site will be completely wiped out. This is why users who have decided to tread this path are required to fill out a short form. You can opt to download your Facebook history, which is under the general settings section, if you’re feeling nostalgic.

After discussing all this, it is still crucial for users of social networking sites to remember that the purpose of creating an account on Facebook, Twitter, or any other site under the same category is to socialize, hence the name. This means anything you post on your account is, in the first place, supposed to be public.

Privacy settings in Facebook are only private to a certain degree, so ultimately, if you do not want others to look you up or see you, the only logical option is to not create an account. Facebook is actually kind enough to give its users a certain amount of discretion when it comes to their accounts’ level of privacy, but that does not mean they can go on expecting more than what they are getting when their account, is after all, given to them for free.