Sun, Oct 13, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Facebook says no more hiding behind ‘invisibility cloak’

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

Facebook is ending a feature that allowed users to hide from the social network’s members.

The feature, akin to Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, will be removed, meaning that someone looking for another Facebook user can more easily find that person.

“The setting was created when Facebook was a simple directory of profiles and it was very limited,” Facebook’s chief privacy officer Michael Richter said.

The setting made Facebook search “feel broken at times,” Richter said on Thursday.

“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,” he said.

Facebook announced last year that it was ending this feature for new users, but allowed a transition for a “small percentage” of users who had that feature enabled.

Richter said the change should not impact on overall privacy.

“Whether you’ve been using the setting or not, the best way to control what people can find about you on Facebook is to choose who can see the individual things you share,” he said.

Facebook recently revamped its search functions to include a so-called “graph search” that allows users to search through a wide range of posts on the social network.

In a separate development, Google announced that it was following Facebook’s lead for users’ pictures and endorsements to appear in product ads.

The change will take effect on Nov. 11, Google said.

“We want to give you — and your friends and connections — the most useful information,” the document said.

“Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you [liked],” it said.

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