How to limit Facebook profile visibility in search results

In the past Facebook users had the power to limit their profiles visibility in searches with the option “Who can look up your Timeline by name?”. Of course your Facebook profile was still visible to friends of friends and people who clicked on your name. This option was only useful to not come up in search results from people you didn’t know.

Back in 2012 Facebook removed the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” option for those who weren’t using it and from new accounts. Fast forward to October 2013, the company is taking this one step further and is announcing that is removing the option globally. So, no more hiding out from searches.

In a new article the social network giant states that users who opted out from appearing in search results will start seeing a notification alerting about the change. The reason is just to allow Facebook Graph Search to grow and be better, apparently the company doesn’t like empty searches, even though Bing results can fill up the gap.

Facebook removal old search setting

How to limit Facebook profile visibility

Now, how do you keep your Facebook profile from appearing in search results? Well, I won’t suggest you to stop using the service, because I’m sure that isn’t going to happen. The best way is to carefully select what to share with your friends and the world. Below there is a list of tips that can help you to keep your profile away from search results.

1. By default you cannot hide your name, picture profile, and cover profile. As such my first tip is suggesting to change your name, by this I mean just make your first and last name shorter. Facebook allows you to use the first three letters of each name if you choose to. If you have popular name, you could opt to use, for example, your full first name and only the first three letters of your last name. (Keep in mind, Facebook only allows you change your name so many times.)

Also change your picture profile and cover photo to something is about you, but doesn’t really show who you are. This will help make it more difficult from someone else to identify you.

2. Limit your information. Click About from your profile and limit to “only you” settings like: living, basic information, etc., by restricting such data it will be harder for Facebook to list your profile using the new Facebook Graph Search.

3. This tip is really important. You’ve probably been posting updates that are visible to the public for years, depending on the content you have published will make easier for anyone to find you and know what you’re saying. Luckily the social giant has included an option to change who can see all your previous posts, saving you countless hours of going post by post and changing the visibility settings.

To use this option, simple go to the Privacy settings, under Who can see my stuff? section, click Limit the audience for posts I’ve shared with friends of friends or Public?, and click Limit Old Posts.

Basically what this option will do is to change any old post published in your Timeline from friends of friends and Public to Friends only. Remember that using this option is not reversible, you do it once and there is not turning back. Also those posts that you share in the past with Custom audience will not change with this option.

Although these tips won’t guarantee one hundred percent from that you will be removed from search results. They will definitely slow things down and help you to be more private.

If you have additional tips we are interested on knowing them. Leave your thoughts in comments below.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].