Facebook Kills Privacy Protection Feature

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook is killing a privacy feature designed to restrict who can find users through the social networking site's search tool. The firm defended the move by saying only a small percentage of its members actually used the feature.

The feature, which is called "Who can look up my Timeline by name?", allowed Facebook users to customize who could find their profile through a search of the social network's database.

For people who wanted to keep their profile information off-limits to employers, strangers, and enemies, it was deemed a highly useful feature.

'Small Percentage' Could Include Millions of Users

But Facebook says only a small percentage of its user base -- which includes well over one billion people -- actually employed the feature.

It's not yet clear how many users were fans of the feature, though reports indicate the percentage was in the single digits. (Source: washingtonpost.com)

Because it found most users did not employ the feature, Facebook began a slow process of phasing it out last year. That process is now just about complete, according to reports.

The change doesn't mean users have lost all control over who can see their information. Facebook is reminding users that they can control who can see each comment and photograph posted to the site.

Facebook Suggests Feature Gave Users a False Sense of Security

Facebook even went so far as to suggest that the feature it's eliminating gave too many of its users a false sense of security because people could still find a picture or comment through names and tags.

"Our concern, quite frankly, is that people think it provides a level of security, but it actually doesn't," noted Facebook Privacy Team member Nicky Jackson. (Source: cbsnews.com)

Still, many users are upset about the change, which is hardly the first policy adjustment to arouse the indignation of Facebook members.

The United States' Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently investigating a Facebook policy that allows the company to use its members' pictures in advertisements on the site.

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