Facebook may have once been a small hiding place where people who knew each other could chat in private, and share photos that they could feel fairly sure wouldn’t be found on the greater web. That’s been steadily changing over the last few years as Facebook tries desperately to reinvent itself in the face of stiff competition from Twitter, and in some ways from Google+.
Last year, Facebook announced that it would be removing a setting that would stop people from being discoverable via the Facebook search box. That setting meant that even if you knew someone’s full name, you wouldn’t be able to find them when looking for them via the search box at the top of the Facebook web site. At all.
Facebook began rolling that change out last year, and after a period of time where those who actually used the setting could continue to do so while those who didn’t found the option gone forever, Facebook is now turning the feature off for everyone, whether they want it or not.
Facebook takes great pains to say that it will make sure everyone knows that their settings are changing, and that if people want to keep things private then they should be sure to set their sharing setting accordingly, which is good advice indeed. Regardless, the change is sure to upset many who used the previous setting, whether they actually understand what the loss of the tickbox means or not.
Facebook is no stranger to controversy surrounding privacy, and this latest move is a clear sign that the social network is trying to be more open than it previously was. Once an area where content was kept on the inside, away from prying eyes, Facebook is now trying to get its users to share everything with everyone, much the same way Twitter does.
Considering Facebook is generally host to much more of our general information than Twitter is though, whether that change is a wise one is a matter of opinion.