Facebook is introducing a search feature that allows users to find public posts.
Pages, people and brands have been easy to track down, but individual items shared on newsfeeds and timelines have effectively been hidden until now.
On Thursday, Facebook revealed it was beginning to roll out an update enabling users to search the social network’s two trillion posts.
In a blog post, Facebook’s vice president of search Tom Stocky said: “When something happens in the world, people often turn to Facebook to see how their friends and family are reacting.
“Today, we’re updating Facebook Search so that in addition to friends and family, you can find out what the world is saying about topics that matter to you.”
The move has been widely seen as a direct challenge to fellow Silicon Valley giants Google and Twitter.
It has also prompted web experts to stress the importance of users protecting their privacy.
Professor Eszter Hargittai, who works for the Web Use Project research group at the US’s Northwestern University, tweeted: “Ever more important to be conscious of what you’re posting to ‘public’ on Facebook as FB rolls out search of posts.”