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Facebook tells users they can't hide from searches

Changes to privacy settings will make Graph Search - Facebook's 'semantic search engine' - more powerful

Facebook has announced new changes to its privacy settings that mean users can no longer choose to hide their profile form searches on the site.

The “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” setting had previously allowed individuals to stop strangers from finding them in searches, giving them the option to let their profile appear only to friends or friends of friends.

The option to restrict these searches was removed last year but this latest update means that even those who had told Facebook that they did not want to appear in searches will no longer have the ability to do so.

Facebook has defended the changes by claiming that only a “small percentage” of people ever used the setting and that the best way to stay private on the site was to restrict who could see “the individual things you share”.

These changes to privacy settings have been implemented to increase the reach of Graph Search: a ‘semantic search engine’ that allows users to find based on factors such as location and interests.

Facebook has described the new search function as a way to increase the connectivity of the site: “Want to start a book club or find a gym buddy? Connect with friends who like the same activities—and meet new people, too.”