As part of my role as a Career Peer Educator this year, I’m currently working on a presentation about the various ways that social media can be used for a job search. I’ll be giving the presentation this Friday to my fellow volunteers. It’s a great topic, and I’m learning a lot as I work on it.
Iris, my partner for the presentation and a fellow AIESECer, suggested that we include some information on how to remove people’s Facebook profile off Google. It’s a great idea, and the information can be valuable for my fellow Career Peer Educators and to the students and alumni that we help.
While working on including this information, I was a bit surprised to find out that removing your Facebook profile off public search isn’t that intuitive. The functionality seems hidden.
So, how do you remove your Facebook profile from appearing on a Google search? It’s actually easy – if you know where to go. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to disable public search on Facebook:
1. Log in to your Facebook account.
2. On the top left hand side, click the arrow next to “Home”.
3. Click “Privacy Settings”.
4. Under “Apps and Websites”, click “Edit Settings”.
Note: You might need to scroll down to see this section.
5. Under “Public Search”, click “Edit Settings”. Again, you might need to scroll down to get here because this is at the bottom of the page.
6. Uncheck “Enable public search”.
7. Click “Confirm” and you’re all set!
What if you’re still appearing on a Google Search?
You might find that after going through these steps, your Facebook profile is still appearing in search results. Here’s what Facebook has to say about this:
“Once you have changed your public search setting, Facebook will stop publishing your information to search engines. However, this information may still be saved in a search engine’s cache or search memory. Until the search engine updates and deletes the old link, the link will not be valid.”
Why Remove Your Facebook Profile Off Public Search
Facebook is no doubt the most popular social networking site, so you might be wondering why we’re suggesting that you remove your Facebook profile off Google.
Here are some reasons why:
- It is personal. Call me crazy, but I’m a bit protective of my Facebook account. Most of the time, I only add people there that I feel close with.
- It is inappropriate. From my personal experience, people seem more prone to posting inappropriate pictures and content on Facebook compared to other sites. It’s just the nature of the beast – we have most of our family and friends there, so we’re also most comfortable there. (Maybe too comfortable?)
- It’s not the best place to connect. I’d rather that people connect with me via Twitter. I usually respond faster to a DM than to a Facebook message. (Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are great tools for managing Twitter, by the way.) LinkedIn is my second choice for connecting to professional contacts. Facebook comes third.
I hope you find this blog post helpful. Do you keep your Facebook profile public or private? What are the disadvantages of taking your Facebook profile off Google?
Note: I updated this blog post on December 29, 2011 to reflect Facebook’s new “Privacy settings” interface. Also, I have enabled public search on my Facebook profile a few months after writing this post. To connect with me on Facebook or to subscribe to my updates, visit my profile at facebook.com/kcclaveria. Also, this blog post was updated April 15, 2012 to address questions about Facebook profile still appearing on search after doing the steps provided here.