Facebook has made a major update to its search feature, indexing the social network’s 2 trillion posts in a way that makes it much easier to dig out your friends’ old status updates.
Searching for terms likes “posts about drunk” or “posts about ashamed” will now dig out status updates from friends, as well as updates from other Facebook members who have made their statuses public.
It is also easier to search for users’ status updates from a bygone era, for example “posts from Joe Bloggs in 2008”.
Facebook made friends’ posts more searchable in an update last year, but the new options make the process more easily-targeted.
It comes as part of a big update of Facebook’s search box, which at present is only available to users who select “US English” as their language.
The new features, called “Search FYI”, are designed to make it easier to find information on Facebook. If lots of users are talking about an event such as evidence of water on Mars for example, it will find posts around that subject.
The search results will display links from news organisations, posts from friends and popular public statuses from non-friends. The new features come as Twitter attempts to establish itself as a portal for live events with its new Moments feature.
However, the updates could also make it easier to dig out any skeletons, by searching for posts from a certain time or subject.
The new search features bring back elements of Graph Search, an engine that allowed users to put natural language queries into Facebook’s search engine. Graph Search, which generated privacy fears when it was first launched, saw many of its features retired last year.
Although the new search function does not make any new information available to users, it does make it easier to find.
Any public posts will also be more easily-searchable, creating a potential privacy headache for some users.
How to make your public posts private
You can’t stop your friends searching for your posts on Facebook, but it is possible to make any public statuses private.
From your Facebook screen, click the padlock in the top right corner, and select “See more settings”
Under “Who can see my stuff”, select “Limit Past Posts” and then “Limit old posts” to make sure only friends can see your old posts.