Soon, everyone will be searchable on Facebook

A setting that some people could use to prevent people from finding their Timeline will soon be gone

Facebook's reminder it will remove the "Who can look up your Timeline by name' setting
Facebook's reminder it will remove the "Who can look up your Timeline by name' setting

In a matter of weeks, everyone on Facebook will be searchable by name. But you'll still have ways to control who sees your content, as long as you can navigate Facebook's web of privacy controls.

Facebook is pulling the plug on a setting that allowed people to prevent others from finding them by name using the Facebook search bar, the company said on Thursday. The setting was actually removed last year for people who weren't using it, but it was left in place for those who were.

Not any longer. The setting will disappear for all users in the coming weeks, Facebook said. People still using the setting will see a notice on their homepage alerting them that it will soon be going away. Less that 10 percent of Facebook's 1 billion-plus users were still using the setting, according to a Facebook spokeswoman.

Its disappearance means Facebook users will no longer have a way to prevent people from finding their Timeline on the site.

Facebook says it's removing the setting because it's not as useful as it once was. It was created at a time when Facebook was built more around profiles than content, the company said, and it didn't work perfectly anyway. People could still find you by clicking your name in a News Feed story, for instance, or in a mutual friend's Timeline.

So instead of keeping the feature around, Facebook is putting more emphasis on the tools that let people control who can see what they post on the site. "The best way to control what people can find about you is to choose the audience of the individual things you share," Facebook said.

Facebook offers lots of ways to control who can see what content you post on Facebook, though some complain the options are still a bit complicated. Facebook said it would be reminding people who share their posts publicly that those posts can be seen by anyone, including people they may not know.

People can limit the audience for their Timeline posts using the Timeline and Tagging settings, and there are further controls in the Privacy Settings and Tools. Users can also control who sees individual posts at the time they're made.

There's also an Activity Log on each user's Timeline, to let people change the settings for things they've already shared. Still other methods employ good old-fashioned human interaction. "Ask friends and others to remove anything they may have shared about you that you don't want on the site," Facebook said Thursday.

The change to the search control comes as Facebook works to make more content discoverable on its site through Graph Search. It was recently expanded from just profile information to include posts as well.

Graph Search makes it "even more important to control the privacy of the things you share, rather than how people get to your Timeline," Facebook said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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