Facebook will be removing the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” privacy setting and notifying people who were hiding themselves that they will be searchable. The reason cited by Facebook was the lack of a definite, universal privacy feature anyway.
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The actual reason for the removal of timeline privacy is the juggling act of pleasing sponsors and making sure their ads are seen, pleasing users and making sure their privacy is ensured, and improving Facebook as a social networking tool.
To be honest, the privacy feature has been somewhat faulty on Facebook for some time as there was always the Timeline to find people, friend list, Graph Search, or even tagging in posts. While another user probably couldn’t find you if they wanted to with a simple search, they would definitely find you.
For those who use Facebook and value not being found by people they didn’t bother to add in the first place, this can come as an inconvenience—or a downright outrage depending on who you ask.
So what will Facebook put in its place? Will it be a universal privacy system that has the user cloaking their account to all but people in their friends list with a single click? That would be great. How about something that allows for you to change just a few options to hide what you want? That sounds reasonable enough.
How about neither?
There will be an announcement to those who have used the Timeline setting letting them know “You know that invisible cloak that you used so no one could find you except for friends? Yeah, that doesn’t work and we’re taking the blankey away.”
Well, not those exact words, but basically the same thing.
Users will now have to go through each personal content setting in the “About” section and change its visibility to “Only me” or “Friends”. So if you want privacy on Facebook, you’ll have to work for it.
Privacy has become a hot button issue online lately with all the NSA revelations starting this summer. As a matter of fact, it has always been an issue to some extent when social networking really took off in the mid-2000s.
Some will argue “It’s the internet, you have no privacy” while others will say “I should have privacy online.” Well, both sides are correct. You should be able to have privacy on a site focused on making the world a smaller place, however that’s impossible considering that money has to be made to make such magic happen.
Of course, once said money is made no one’s going to want to stop that cash flow—that is where you get ineffective, overly complicated privacy measures as opposed to just allowing users to go invisible except for friends in as few clicks as possible.
So what are the options available to Facebook users? There’s just going bare and forgetting about the notion of privacy on Facebook, but everyone wants a little privacy even if they say they don’t care.
There’s also manually going through each setting and changing it accordingly. It’s a hassle, but if you’re going to stay on Facebook and want something resembling privacy, you’ll have to get to it.
You could deactivate your account and forget about Facebook altogether. The thing is that once you’re on Facebook and communicating with people regularly it might be a jump to do that.
A softer option to the above is to just leave your Facebook open and ignore it for the most part. You can always pop back up, look around and not add people as friends. Even if you did add them you wouldn’t talk to them since you’re “semi-retired” from Facebook..
Besides, even if you’re active on Facebook how many of the hundreds of people on your friends list do you actually talk with regularly? Facebook friend lists are almost MySpace-esque in scope.
The other option would be finding a social networking site that allows for privacy and is pretty much basic in execution and doesn’t have so many elements where you can and will be found in search.
The main thing is to ask yourself “Is manually doing the privacy settings that much of a bother?” Also you should remember that Facebook changes all the time—usually for the worse—but you’ll get familiar with it.
It’s not like Facebook will totally change by using a language no one uses and navigation can only be done by touch or voice command in that language…not yet, anyway.