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How the Facebook Timeline Affects your Privacy

23
Sep
2011

TimeLineHold on to your seats, people, because everything we see now in Facebook is likely to look completely different once Zuckerberg and Co. are done implementing the “cool new changes” mentioned at the F8 Conference. The changes to the newsfeed and that ticker that everyone’s complaining about – well, they’re only the prologue. The real story is just about to begin.

Facebook is about to introduce a new feature called Timeline, and it’s a real game changer as far as information sharing is concerned.

It says in the Facebook Blog: “Imagine if there was an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in one place.”

Well, as Facebook would have it, we no longer need to imagine anything. We’ll just have to wait for a few weeks and we’re likely to have exactly that: our own “Timeline”.

The premise of the new feature is pretty simple: it gives us a place to store all the important moments in our lives. The way Facebook is right now, all our posts get buried over time, no matter how important. Your status updates about the milestones in your life would eventually get buried under mundane updates such as what you had for lunch or perhaps even Farmville requests. The only way for people to actually see the important posts would be to press ‘older posts’ button again and again and sift through all the rubble – a process too troublesome that not many would even begin to try.

With timeline, we get to show what’s really important. It’s a nifty feature that will make it much easier to catch up with some old friends and to find out what’s been going on with their lives over the past years and vise versa.

So far, it looks like the timeline will be automatically generated at first, then you can go to your ‘private activity log’ to view everything that you have shared since you joined Facebook. You can then choose which posts to add to your timeline in order to fill in the gaps which Facebook missed. Then, you can either choose to immediately publish your timeline or take a few days to fill it up and then publish it once it’s complete.

Timeline isn’t all about the milestones either; your everyday activities also have a place in it. You can add some apps to it in order to show everyone what you’re watching, listening to, reading, or even cooking. Likewise, you can see what other people are up to if they also install the app.

As for privacy settings, you get to choose if you want to feature something on your timeline, allow it, or hide it. You also get to choose whether the timeline will be visible to the general public, only your friends, or only yourself.

All in all, Timeline looks like it will revolutionize the way we share our personal data. Reactions to the idea have been mixed. There are some who can’t wait to try it, while others are more reserved and think that the app is a one way ticket to “stalkersville”.

Of course, whether you’re going to publish your timeline or not will be entirely up to you. If you do decide to publish it, though, take great care in choosing who gets to see it. If you add people you don’t even know to your Facebook account, even potential scammers and hackers, then you might just have made their phishing attempts a whole lot easier.

The Timeline will be available for all users, but you can check out this guide at Mashable if you want to get started now.

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