Gah facebook do I have to delete you again
February 13, 2011 5:55 AM   Subscribe

Facebook Question: Finally got back onto the facebook bandwagon a few days ago. But why don't I show up in searches?

I've checked my privacy settings. All the relevant terms that you'd be searching for (education, location, etc.) are set to EVERYONE.

But no one can find me. Other people's accounts don't see me when they search for me and I can't find my account either.

I've seen similar questions posted on the internet with no real answer. Trying to contact facebook about it has, as other people say, not done anything. Hopefully I won't have to delete and remake it but what's the point of FB if I just started and no one can search for me? Could this no-search be influenced by the fact that I opened my account less than a week ago?
posted by bluelight to Technology (11 answers total)
In the Privacy section, go to the top section "Connecting on Facebook". Make sure it's set up for everybody to search for you and everybody to send you friend requests.

Other than that, I'd wait.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:07 AM on February 13, 2011

Your issue is with the search function, not the privacy settings. Your privacy settings take effect immediately, but it will take a while for the content spider programs to find and index your content for searching. Those spiders aren't written to react to new content, they are written to be methodical and 'notice' changes.

I have no basis for saying the following beyond gut feeling, but I'd venture that 'deactivated accounts' are migrated to a separate cluster (however FB handles their database) to economize and speed up their spiders. It might take them a while to migrate you back to the 'active' cluster, then an additional period of time for their search engine spiders to get around to you.
posted by markovitch at 6:17 AM on February 13, 2011

Response by poster: Oh this isn't a reactivated account. This is a completely new account.

Also, I never touched the privacy settings. They were, by default, set to everyone.
posted by bluelight at 6:21 AM on February 13, 2011

I don't think I've ever seen anybody complain about Facebook being too private ;)

In my experience, FB search is a little flaky. I've had it return completely different results on the same search executed within 5 minutes of each other. You might need to get a few more connections for the search algorithms to have enough data to work with. Try having a few friends email you links to their profiles so that you can build up some connections.
posted by COD at 6:33 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would agree that FB search is a little flaky.
posted by dfriedman at 7:38 AM on February 13, 2011

So flaky.
posted by astrochimp at 7:53 AM on February 13, 2011

Best answer: Since you can't find your own account, that indicates an actual problem, according to Facebook. They provide a contact form for you to report the issue.
posted by lesli212 at 8:05 AM on February 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks lesli212. I filled out the form. This is what they sent back in reply:

Thanks for letting us know about this error and for your interest in helping us improve the site. Although currently we can not respond to all notices, we may contact you to ask for more information when we try to solve the problem. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience.

Maybe it has something do to with the newness of my account, I don't know, I'll wait on it for a few days more.
posted by bluelight at 8:23 AM on February 13, 2011

The FB search function, I find, sucks balls as of the last few years. I kind of have a conspiracy theory that it's that way intentionally, thereby encouraging people to use the friend finder thing where FB finds all your email contacts when you give it your email password (especially since they apparently deleted the find a friend by their email address option on the site), but it's possible that it's just much harder to make it work when there are so many millions of people on the site.

Even if they don't get this cleared up, once you start adding friends, the "you have 12 friends in common" notification will start popping up and a lot of people you know will see (and add) you that way.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:42 AM on February 13, 2011

You can still find a friend by email, just type it in the search box. Of course, it has to be the right email, and your friend has to be searchable. (If I'm googleing someone and I have an email, facebook is one of the places I check)
posted by shinyshiny at 12:06 PM on February 13, 2011

Fastest way in is to find someone you know who is already there, friend them, then browse their friend list for mutual contacts and request them as well. It snowballs pretty quickly.

You can also use the import features which scour your Gmail (or other major email) contact lists to find matches.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:21 AM on February 14, 2011

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