The Latest in IT Security

Facebook Timeline – Mark Zuckerberg encourages you to be less private


Facebook has announced a major revamp, which will impact its 800 million users.

Your old profile is going to be redesigned, and presented instead as a timeline going back to when you first joined the social network, and (if you so choose) even beyond..

Most Facebook users don’t have the Timeline yet, but you can access it if you’re a developer. Here’s what my Facebook Timeline looks like:

Facebook Timeline

Here’s the video Facebook made, designed to tug at your heartstrings and sell you on the idea of the Facebook Timeline.

Curiously, Facebook has disallowed anyone from leaving comments on their YouTube video. Worried about a negative reaction, perhaps?

What may disturb some people is that the timeline is going to make it easier to trawl back through a fellow Facebook user’s history, and learn information from their past, rummage through old photographs and the like. Of course, this is all information that has been uploaded to Facebook in the first place, but it will now be more accessible than ever before.

Facebook says it will provide a way for users to curate their Timeline (read: edit out the bad relationships and status updates you regret in retrospect) but you have to wonder how many people will go to the effort.

Indeed, Facebook appears to be keener to encourage you to add information, filling in the gaps from your past.

Add a picture from when you were born

An obvious concern is that by encouraging users to enter even more personal information about themselves and their life experiences, Facebook might be making it even easier for identity thieves to put together a profile about an individual, discover the name of their first pet, and so forth – all information which could be put to a nefarious use.

Tell us about the time you broke your wrist when you were 12 years old

Soon, if you let it, Facebook could be a chronicle of your entire life.

My expectation is that many Facebook users won’t like the redesigned interface, and will complain loudly about it. People generally don’t like change or having to learn a new way to do things.

However, although there is bound to be much resistance the ultimate proof of the pudding is whether people actually up sticks and leave the social network.

In my experience many people, although disgruntled with Facebook for a number of reasons, don’t leave the site because of the investment they have already made in it.

If you’re a Facebook user, tell us what your thoughts are about the new Facebook Timeline feature. Let us know by taking the poll below.

If you’re a Facebook user and want to keep up on the latest threats and security news I would recommend you join the Sophos Facebook page – where more than 100,000 people regularly discuss the latest attacks.

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