Facebook amendments of yonder have rarely been received well. Facebook users just don’t react well to change, and since its creation Facebook has done a lot of changing. It seems like when you’ve just gotten accustomed to the latest alteration, a new one is just around the corner.
So the Facebook PR department have most likely gotten themselves sufficiently braced for the onslaught of criticism that comes with arguably their largest change yet. The Facebook timeline, the next significant change since the implementation of the Timelines younger and equally controversial cousin, the Facebook ticker.
The Facebook Timeline essentially compacts a Facebook user’s “highlights” into an easy-to-navigate timeline which replaces the previous Facebook profile. Someone viewing a profile can easily navigate throughout the years and months for the highlights of a person’s Facebook life, dating back to the day they joined the social networking site. No longer does browsing old posts mean spending hours clicking on the “Older Posts” link. The era of new posts sitting on older posts, pushing them out of sight and memory, is over. The Facebook timeline is a worrying reminder that Facebook certainly has not forgotten about our old information. It’s all readily available with a few clicks of the mouse.
Our chief editor now knows his first Facebook post –
I have been forced by hooded men with strange accents to join FaceBook. This was not my choice.
Something that a month ago would have been buried under masses of newer information, now available in a few seconds.
Because Facebook is suddenly making all of your information much easier to access – regardless however many dustballs you believe covered the words over time – it is more important now than ever before to adhere to some simple Facebook privacy concerns.
Here we compile our list of things you really need to do before the Facebook Timeline finds you!
Set your Privacy Settings to Friends Only!
Even with the privacy controversy caused by the Facebook ticker which has an unfortunate tendency to broadcast irrelevant statuses and comments to Facebook users, it is still amazing how many people still have their Facebook walls set to Public, or Friends of Friends. With the implementation of the Facebook timeline, ALL information on you is essentially bunched in easy to read highlights, in an easy to navigate menu. The question is, do you really want strangers having all that information to hand? The biggest security concern here is that users who lack the correct privacy settings will be potentially broadcasting all their personal information to cyber criminals, making various Internet crimes, like phishing, a whole lot easier. And you’re not just putting you at risk either. Your friends may have information on your wall, or even the company you work for.
Privacy settings really need to be Friends Only. In our opinion, Facebook shouldn’t really have a Public option.
Get Ready to Read Up on Your History!
You remember that embarrassing status update you made 2 years ago that is now so buried under newer information that it may as well not exist? Well it certainly exists now. All that information you posted years ago is now up for grabs by anyone with a few seconds to spare. Think outside the box here – we’re talking about information that could be found by potential employers? Love letters or romantic posts for/from ex-partners? It’s all there. And remember what is embarrassing or potentially troublesome for you now may not have been like that when you posted it all those years ago.
Also worth deleting are any posts that may reveal a little too much about yourself, such as your phone number or address.
Facebook gives you a 7 days heads up before the timeline gets published. Luckily they’ve given you a handy “hide from timeline” option for any post you want removed, located at the pencil icon at the top right of the offending story.
Learn About Facebook Lists
For those that have Facebook friends and Facebook “friends” (people you don’t really know, just flippantly exclaimed ‘Facebook me’ and haven’t really though about since) it may be time to start thinking about Facebook lists. Facebook lists are a feature that many are not really too familiar with, but allow a Facebook user to sort their varying Facebook contacts into differing lists, and allow you to place certain restrictions on what list can see what about you. So those Facebook “friends” you’ve accumulated should probably not get to see everything about you – Facebook Lists allows you to restrict their ability to view your profile whilst still give close friends and family the whole picture!
If you’re not sure about using Facebook lists, it may be time to get rid of some of those Facebook contacts you don’t really know, before they get easy to access to your entire Facebook history!
Remember to stay alert for Facebook scams. No doubt Facebook scammers are going to be looking to take this whole new privacy nightmare to their advantage. Use your common sense and if in doubt, ask someone who knows!
The Timeline has already hit many countries and if you want to try it, you can enable it now by clicking here and testing it out. Otherwise you can wait for your invitation, or those who want to resist it for as long as possible, expect to be forced over some time in the New Year!
Let us know what you think of the Facebook Timeline and any comments you have on its inevitable implementation! Remember to share this article with your friends to make sure they know how to handle the timeline!