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Facebook dumps remove setting that allows users to hide from search

Those of you hiding from Facebook's search engine can lurk no more. The social network is now finalising plans to remove the "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" security setting.

The option allowed you to choose who could see your name in search results on Facebook. With the most secure settings, someone typing in your name would see nothing even if you had a Facebook account.

In Decemeber 2012, however, Facebook announced a privacy policy update that said the company would retire the "look up" setting. It was "limited in scope," Facebook argued at the time, and "didn't prevent people from finding others in many other ways across the site," like friends of friends.

As a result, Facebook retired it last year for those who were not using it. Now, it will do the same for the "small percentage" of people who still have it active in the coming weeks.

Before it is removed completely, Facebook will display a warning atop the news feeds of those who still have it enabled. After a small explainer, users can click "Okay, I understand" to dismiss the notice or "Learn more" for more info.

Facebook said today that the setting "made Facebook's search feature feel broken at times. For example, people told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."

Going forward, Facebook members will no longer be able to hide across the social network. The company urged users to take note of the settings when they share things on Facebook. To drive this point home, Facebook said it will display a reminder notice to those who are about to share something publicly, asking them if they want to do that.

Facebook's privacy settings page also allows you to change the privacy of old posts.

Image: Flickr (Franco Bouly)