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Facebook removes another privacy control saying it didn't work anyway

Editorial Staff

Facebook is to remove the facility for users to hide their profile from public searches. And that's not the only change the company is making in its latest round of alterations.

Facebook says on its blog "we'll be recommending that you make available to everyone a limited set of information that helps people find and connect with you, information like "About Me" and where you work or go to school."

As from yesterday, Facebook has removed the facility to control the range of persons who can look up a member by name. Facebook says it was causing confusion and giving a false sense of security. " Our concern, quite frankly, is that people think it provides a level of security, but it actually doesn't," FB's Nicky Jackson Colaco is quoted as saying in an article widely available on news websites.

Worse, the question "who can look you up using the e-mail address or phone number you provided?" has only three options: everyone, friends of friends and friends. There is no option to block such searches. This is especially pernicious because FB insists that both an e-mail address and a telephone number are given and verified.

However, as of today, the "public search" facility, which "controls whether people who enter your name in a search engine will see a preview of your Facebook timeline. Because some search engines cache information, some of your timeline information may be available for a period of time after you turn public search off." is a switchable option.

Facebook is also putting the responsibility for privacy onto users. That would be fine if it set all default settings to private unless the user specifically marks it to be more widely available. That is not happening.

Worse, even if a user blocks a message on his own "Timeline" (spit) it will still appear in other places such as friends' "Timelines" (double spit), news feeds and searches. FB has persisted in the policy that says that, if a person is featured in a photograph and wishes it to be removed, that can only be done by the person who originally posted it. Google is going to love that: it has already been ordered to pay substantial damages to a plaintiff in Australia because its search engine picked up libellous comments from a third party's site.


Sources: https://blog.facebook.com/blog... (10 December 2012) and other FB sources.