Facebook begins warning users of Graph Search privacy change

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Facebook is removing a privacy setting the company says was sparsely used, allowing all users to be found via Graph Search. The social network is in the process of sunsetting the “Who can look up your timeline by name?” feature, which essentially allowed users to be undiscoverable through Graph Search.

Facebook is notifying users who currently have this feature enabled through a prompt atop News Feed and in an email.

[contextly_sidebar id="95f3c04f67a012e2dabbaf2248a2a949"]The above screen capture shows the prompt that it is showing to users who have utilized the “Who can look up your timeline by name?” setting. Facebook told users it would do this when the company reminded everyone last month that this setting was going away.

If you’re wondering how to protect your privacy because of this change, here is a thorough guide explaining things users can do to prevent unwanted attention.

Facebook has also sent out an email to users with the privacy setting enabled, telling them of the change:

In a few days we’ll be removing an old Facebook setting you’ve used in the past. You’ll see an announcement on Facebook and have several chances to learn about this before then. We just wanted to tell you about this in advance so you have time to review what’s changing and understand your privacy options.

What’s changing: We’re removing an old search setting called “Who can look up your Timeline by name”—but this won’t change who can see what you’ve shared on Facebook.

What did this setting do?

“Who can look up your Timeline by name” controlled who could find your Timeline by typing your name in search.

What will happen when the setting is removed?

Anyone will be able to look up your Timeline by your name — but if they go to your Timeline, they’ll only see what they already have permission to see. Removing this setting doesn’t change who can see your photos, status updates or other things you’ve shared.

Why is Facebook removing this setting?

When we created this setting, the only way to find you on Facebook was to search for your specific name. Now, people can come across your Timeline in other ways: for example if a friend tags you in a photo, which links to your Timeline, or if people search for phrases like “People who like The Beatles,” or “People who live in Seattle,” in Graph Search.

Today, the best way to manage who sees your stuff is to use your Privacy Shortcuts (just click the lock icon at the top of every page of the Facebook website), and to choose who to share with when you post new photos and updates.

What’s next?

You’ll have more chances to review this info before the setting is removed—and we’ll remind you on Facebook.

Want to review your privacy choices now? Here are some things you can do:

  • If you want to quickly limit the audience of things you’ve shared in the past to Friends, visit your privacy settings.
  • Each time you share a photo, link or status update, you can set the privacy for that specific post.
  • Check out what you’ve shared in the past—and who can see that info—by going to your activity log. To get to your activity log, click the lock icon at the top of any page to open your privacy shortcuts.

Thanks for taking the time to read this message and for being part of Facebook.

The Facebook Team

Readers: How do you feel about this change?

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