Parents: Facebook Disabled Another Privacy Feature

Dec 13, 2013

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Have you wondered who can see your Facebook Timeline simply by searching your name? Answer: Anyone you have not blocked.

Facebook disabled this privacy feature in October, making those who were previously hidden now searchable. It removed the setting from users who hadn’t been “private” since December 2012, and now promotes individualized privacy options for each content type (photos, videos, Timeline, etc.). This eliminates a one-click or blanket privacy option from Facebook.

However, the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” setting was generally misunderstood by many people. Initially, users assume that this protected their profile from strangers. But that isn’t true.

Facebook Profiles are accessible through a variety of ways. Strangers can easily click a recently tagged photo, find your name through a friend list, or comb through your recent history of likes and comments on others’ pictures.

The new Graph Search also greatly increased the opportunities for finding profiles. Essentially, any information or post, whether personal or public, can link you to a search. For example, listing publicly that you live in Phoenix allows the Graph Search to display your profile to anyone who may search “People living in Phoenix.”

The “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” really doesn’t keep users’ profiles very private.

Because users may not know of the many ways around the setting, their dependence on the setting and their unawareness leaves them vulnerable. Facebook’s latest setting will require people to manually select the degree of visibility with each profile section. While it is time-consuming, it is much more effective.

If you are extremely concerned about your privacy, keep in mind that current cover images and profile pictures will still remain public.

To only reveal your name, you would need to keep those data fields blank.

To help keep your privacy and identity safe, Net Nanny Social can help. It lets parents monitor a child's friends, pictures and posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn. The software can alert you of any potential privacy issues.