Profile field visibility settings were added to BuddyPress in version 1.6 in order to address a popular request for profile privacy. The settings had remained the same up until the recent 2.0 release. Field visibility settings were previously tacked onto each field in the profile editing screens. BuddyPress project lead John James Jacoby proposed that the plugin separate field data from field privacy by moving the visibility into its own settings page.
BuddyPress 2.0 added a new Settings > Profile tab that allows users to configure profile field visibility from a single screen. This change declutters the profile editing pages and provides an easier way to edit field visibility all in one pass.
If you were not aware that the settings were moved in BP 2.0, it may have seemed that they disappeared entirely. Logged-in members can now find them at Settings > Profile:
As you can see in the example, some fields do not have visibility options. This is because administrators can opt to override them and set per-member visibility settings for each field at Users > Profile Fields > Edit Field.
The default option is to let members change the field’s visibility, but you can also elect to enforce the default visibility for all members.
If you don’t have a BuddyPress site handy for checking out the new profile field visibility settings page, you can see a live demo on BuddyPress.org when logged into your profile.