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How to deal with the new Facebook search settings

In other words, how to hide your profile on Facebook now that you can no longer hide your profile on Facebook.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

This week Facebook has reminded us it's putting an end to the ability to hide your profile from its Graph Search. In the past, users were given the choice to allow other users to search for their profile by name on Facebook, or to hide their profile from the search.

For those of you who are still using this feature, you'll see reminders over the next few weeks as the setting is removed from the service altogether.

So with users sure to be upset that anyone and everyone will be able to find them on Facebook by simply searching for them by name, what's a person to do?

Use a pseudonym

Using a fake name, or a variation of your name, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to hide your profile from strangers, or even acquaintances who may not realize you have a nickname with friends and family members inside your inner circle.

As Dennis O'Reilly recently pointed out, Facebook's terms and conditions require you to use the same name that's on your credit card, but do you think there's actually people checking this? Probably not. Check out his post to see the list of what Facebook will and won't allow for you to use when it comes to your name.

Then decide if hiding on Facebook is worth potentially having your account shut down should Facebook ever realize you aren't exactly following the guidelines.

Control your audience

Whenever you share something, be it a photo or simple status update, there's a privacy setting attached to it. With Facebook pushing for more and more information to be made available in its Graph Search, don't be surprised if your share settings are set to Public by default. This is something you'll want to check each time you post something on Facebook. It takes only a few seconds to glance in the lower-right corner of the screen and check for a Globe icon. If it's present, whatever it is you're about to post is going to be public and thus viewable by anyone who finds your profile.

As for anything you've previously posted and shared on Facebook, there's an option in your account settings to limit the audience for your previous posts. By visiting this page when signed into your Facebook account and clicking on the "Limit Old Posts" button, Facebook will change any previous public posts on your account to friends only.


You've decided changing your name and using a pseudonym was worth it, so you're not going to want to use a profile photo of yourself, should someone accidentally stumble upon your account.

Posting a photo of something you're known for, but yet is still somewhat mysterious and doesn't uniquely identify you is a convenient way to still make it easy for friends to spot you, yet remain anonymous to those you want to hide from.

And while we're on the subject of photos, posting a profile photo containing only your kids isn't a promising way of hiding yourself on Facebook.

Block people

The changes to who can search for your profile will not change the fact that people you've blocked on Facebook can no longer view your profile. Blocking someone will continue to work the way it currently does. If all else fails, you can block those individuals you don't want to see your profile and any subsequent posts you make or are tagged in. But keep in mind, anyone can create another account and still stalk you under a fake account.