Facebook privacy e-card

NOTE: The steps below aren’t up-to-date anymore. If you’d like to learn how to remove your Facebook profile from Google, please see my updated blog post.

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”.

Facebook > Home > Privacy Settings

4. Under “Apps and Websites”, click “Edit Settings”.
Note: You might need to scroll down to see this section.

Facebook Public Search - Apps and Websites

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.

Public Search - Facebook (enable or disable)

6. Uncheck “Enable public search”.

Enable or disable public search on Facebook

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.”

To resolve this issue, you need to contact Google, Yahoo! or Bing directly to ask them to remove your profile from their search engines.

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.

© 2011 – 2014, KC Claveria. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please link back to kcclaveria.com

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  • Ruby L

    Hey! Great post :) I love it! I’m going to reblog on Facebook now so all the AIESECers can get on it! <3 Ru

    • http://kcclaveria.com KC Claveria

      Yipee! Thanks! :) Hope you found the post helpful.

  • Hamza El-Masoudi

    Great post!! 

    • http://kcclaveria.com KC Claveria

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that. :)

  • George Amaron

    Thank you for this blog. I learned here. But let me ask you, how can I enable public search again? I already did unchecking,but I realized it is necessary to uncheck the box when someone makes something that is not good.Because my friends can’t search there in facebook,so I need to re-check it.The check box does not work even how many times I click it.Can you please help me on this, Sir/Ma’am?
    Kindly,send your reply to this email add: luke.ghmar@gmail.com

    • http://kcclaveria.com KC Claveria

      Hi George. I tried re-checking the box several times and it worked for me. Sometimes Facebook has intermittent issues; you might want to try again. If the issue persists, I suggest contacting Facebook via email. Hope that helps!

  • Sunstyle21

    it doesnt work

    • http://kcclaveria.com KC Claveria

      Hi there! Please try again – I just updated the steps. If your profile is still appearing on search, Facebook says you need to contact the search company for more info. Please see my response to Callie above for more info.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1218210442 Callie Bud

    i did it, and still tried googling myself and i still come up… will this change?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1218210442 Callie Bud

    i did it, and still tried googling myself and i still come up… will this change?

    • http://kcclaveria.com KC Claveria

      Hi @facebook-1218210442:disqus! I researched a little bit for you, and here’s what Facebook has to say about the issue:

      “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.

      Unfortunately, Facebook does not have control over content that has already been indexed and cached in search engines. To request the immediate removal of this search listing, you will have to contact the specific search engine’s support team.”

      More info here:
      https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=187242851325892

  • http://prjustinne.wordpress.com/ Justinne Ramirez

    Perfect! Thanks Kelvin, I really needed this.

  • Nina

    my fb profile was visible in google search… i decided i did`t want it that way any more. i found this blog and went step by step as you suggest. i have found out that i had the box “enable public search” unchecked all this time! so how come i was / am visible in google? please help!

  • http://www.marketingsmartt.com/services/internet-marketing/social-media-marketing/ Parham Doustdar

    Hi there Kelvin,

    Great post. I agree with you about Facebook not being a “professional” platform. I would think that even Google Plus would take the third place for me, with Facebook being the fourth. I haven’t used Google Plus much, but I can see that the posts made there are much more professional (like LinkedIn).

    Thanks for the insights!

    • http://kcclaveria.com KC Claveria

      Thanks for the comment @696f91b873a9088063cf3be666dbcff8:disqus! 

  • Chino

    I deleted my facebook acct more than six months ago and last week I googled my name and facebook and I found http://www.facebook.com/public/“my profile”. I asked Google to remove my info, thinking it was an outdated cached page. To my surprise, google denied my request because it was a live facebook page. Now how I am supposed to remove that info!!! ahhhh Facebook is driving me crazy

    • http://kcclaveria.com KC Claveria

      That’s odd, Chino! Not sure if I have the answer to that issue at this time. I will update the blog post if I ever come across a solution!

  • Shikha

    thank u kc

  • Cek

    I have my privacy settings set to maximum, but something called ‘profile engine’ has taken all my personal details and has them for all and sundry to see!! They’re now asking me to provide them with official ID documents via email to clarify it’s me. I refused, due to the immense privacy concerns, and Google have refused to take ‘profile engine’ off the search results ‘as it’s live’. Is there anything i can do???

  • http://www.facebook.com/Zirva.Haq Nida Cheema

    Thanx..Hopefuly my facebook profile will b deleted from google search soon

  • Brian

    I have never allowed public search of my Facebook yet there are dozens of my posts on Google and the links work.

    • http://easypetitelooks.com/ Amber @ EasyPetiteLooks.com

      same here

      • Anonymous

        This is because your posts are on other peoples’ pages. I’m fairly certain you can only control information on *your* page. If you post information on someone else’s page and they allow indexing, it will be indexed.

        • http://kcclaveria.com KC Claveria

          Thanks for sharing this information!

  • http://twitter.com/justclick1n justclickin

    Useful information.

    Thanks for it :)

    Michael

  • Jagadish

    Good to know. Thanks