Thursday, 2 February 2012

Watch out for Facebook's Timeline

Have you heard about Facebook's new Timeline feature?

If you're on Facebook and you haven't, you'll be hearing a lot more about it in the next few weeks. Your Facebook Timeline will be your own personal Facebook history, where you'll be able to see all your old activities.

That means you can see all your old wall posts, conversation with friends, photos, friends requests - but everyone else will be able to see this as well.

For those people who love to share every little bit of personal information on Facebook, I'm sure they'll love the new Timeline feature; but what about those of us who still value a part of our private lives?

I'm instinctively uncomfortable with this Timeline feature. Why does my entire Facebook activity have to be made available for the world to see?

It's things like the Timeline that are adding to people's growing concerns about Facebook and its overall attitude to online privacy and security.

No wonder there's a growing backlash!

If you've got a Facebook profile, once you receive your update about the Timeline, you'll have 7 days to delete anything on there you don't like or don't want other people to see.

Now that sounds great in theory, but for those of us who have been on Facebook for years, there's probably tons of stuff to go through. How many people are really going to spend hours trawling through past comments and updates, looking for stuff to delete?

I've always kept my privacy settings to only allow 'friends' to view my profile, but there's still loads of people I rarely speak to or haven't seen in years who could potentially start snooping around all my old Facebook activities.

I'm guilty of this as anyone else, but Facebook does allow you to view other people's lives, but not always in a good way, it can be very voyeuristic and the Timeline allows even more opportunity for this increase in voyeurism.

What I don't like about the Timeline and Facebook's attitude to privacy is that as a user you have to 'opt out' to ensure that personal information is not shown to other people.

It's you that has to set your own privacy settings, otherwise personal and private information is instantly made available to people as with the Timeline.

Like many others I've really embraced the world of Social Media, but people need to be more clued up about issues of privacy and the importance of protecting yourself online.

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