Kudos to Mark Zuckerberg for yet another achievement with Open Graph. It brings so much to table. It adds a whole new dimension to Facebook and makes it an even richer ecosystem. But, coming to the most important revelation of F8 conference ‘Facebook Timeline’, which has impressed many, including many here at Technically Personal, but I can only say that it scares the shit out of me.

Note: Facebook Timeline is available for developers only right now. It will be rolling out for everyone from 29th Sep onwards.

Before I blurt out my nightmare, I would like to point out that I am no privacy pundit. I don’t mind sharing posts in public, and I don’t believe Facebook is some evil lord who will take my data and make my life hell. Since this is clear now, let me start with a simple scenario. What if you are applying for a job in a company? HRs now-a-days also consider your social network profile. They decide your personality based on the posts you share on these sites. Don’t you think Facebook Timeline just made their life a hell lot easier. Instead of your recent posts, lets say a few months, they can see your entire life that you spent on Faceebook. Mind you, I am talking about the posts shared in public. It just gives them an easy access to make out what you are made of and it can really affect you during interviews.

This was one such scenario which deals with professional life, now coming to personal life.

I believe each and everyone of you will agree that not all friends on Facebook are actually your friend (as the true meaning of friend means), but rather most of them are acquaintances. Would you like to share your whole life with them? Wouldn’t it just make your life hell if one of them is a stalker?

Lets consider another scenario, a very real one.

I think you all will agree that the circle of friends you are in right now, may/will not remain the same forever. It keeps on changing. Things which are relevant to one might not be relevant to others. You might not want the things you shared with one circle of friends today to be visible to each and every friend of tomorrow. What will you do then? Don’t you think Facebook Timeline will just give them an easy way to find out what you were or what you used to say previously. Also consider more personal scenarios like break-ups and divorces, what then?

One might argue that you can do this even now, but tell me how many times have you ever clicked ‘older posts’ in somebody else’s profile? May be a few times, but no one bothers to go further, and what does Timeline brings to table, an easy access to all those posts, photos and shares which you posted ages ago, to everyone.

Honestly, its not that I don’t like the idea of Timeline. It is an amazing way to look into your own past and remember those ‘good old days’. It gives a chance to sit with your old friends, grab beer, and rejoice your past by taking a walk down the memory lane. But the question arises is everyone in you friend list, someone you would like to hangout with in future and discuss your feats of past that you put on Facebook.

So, if this is the case what you can do to avoid these unwanted scenarios?

Tips to Handle Facebook Timeline Privacy Concerns

Disabling Facebook Timeline and getting back to the Old Facebook isn’t possible right now. But there are some work-arounds.

  1. Arrange your friends in lists-
    By arranging your friends in lists and then sharing your feeds to specific list will enable you to share those posts with the friends in your lists even in timeline. What I share with my friends in list called ‘close friends’ will only be available to them in timeline. No other user would be able to view it.
  2. Privacy feature by which you can disable your past posts-
    If you click on the small triangle button on the right of the ‘Home’ button on Facebook home page, you will be able to see privacy settings. Go there and you would be able to see an option of ‘Limit the audience for past posts‘. There if you click on ‘Manage past post visibility‘ you would be able to change settings of all your posts, which were posted as public, to friends only. Doing so will make it impossible for people who aren’t in your list to view those posts.

To me these options are still limited, as I don’t have lists. Mind you, Facebook didn’t start with Lists. It was only introduced later, unlike Google+, where we knew which circle we want to add a particular person. Sorting so many friends adds to the woes of Facebook that I face.

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A full time developer and a part time blogger, but above all a person with extreme passion about anything with a 'Tech'. You can find him at UjjwalKanth.com, and follow him at @ujjwalkanth


12 thoughts on “Facebook Timeline Scares the Shit Out of Me

  1. You put your life in public yet you don’t want certain people to see it. By definition, privacy is keeping things out of public view. From the dictionary ” the state of being free from public attention.”

    If you don’t want a company to see your life timeline, all you have to do is keep it private. Don’t put it in public.

    I will never understand the thinking “…I am no privacy pundit.” But I want my privacy. Is this so difficult to understand?

    • Hey, can’t you read between the lines? He’s telling you that our thoughts are always in a cycle, you improve yourself and try hard to stop bad habits and acquire new ones to improve the human being you are. So Ujjwal Kanth is basically saying that you have IMPROVED, you’re not the same old person anymore! Ujjwal Kanth I definitely agree with you 🙂

    • Thanks Mostafa Dafer thats what I intend to say with this post. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago, when I joined facebook. And whatever I shared then shouldn’t be the reason to judge me now.
      When I said I am no privacy pundit, I meant that I don’t mind sharing, I don’t mind sharing my thoughts in public, but I do mind when someone starts judging me by what I posted years ago.
      Timeline just makes that an easy task.
      Also there is no way to regulate who gets to see what.
      In my example i mentioned a simple scenario where you have current circle of friends and some different circle in past. what would anyone do then.

      • The point Hal was making is basically that by using a social networking site you put your private life on display, and many folks don’t even realize how vulnerable they make themselves! Mark Zucker-dick cares nothing for the safety of his FB users. No announcements have been made about these newest ‘changes’: I found out about Timeline from a Yahoo article of all places!

        FB isnt secure by default, either. You have to enable HTTPS extension through your FB security settings. WHY isnt this enabled by default? Mark Z ‘earns’ ad revenue using personal information YOU supply on your FB page, why would he want to protect your privacy…??

        • No announcements have been made about these newest ‘changes’
          This was done in F8 conference.
          Please read the above two comments once again. Also understand that I don’t mind ads and don’t mind doing fb on http. Privacy is also not that great a concern to me. What I intended with the article is that I don’t want my life to be an open book. I don’t want to give others a chance to open each and every post that i wrote in past 4 years that i was on FB, reason to this i have stated above.

  2. I’m no fan of FB’s privacy policies, but some of this hand-wringing baffles me.

    If you’re worried what people might think of your updates down the line, then be careful what you post! No one is forcing you to bare all on Facebook (literally and figuratively), and I’m pretty sure most people present a heavily selective and idealised version of their lives on there anyway. (Granted, some may not be self-aware enough for that, but those aren’t the people doing the hand-wringing.)

  3. The rollout must be slow. It’s October 1st, and no one I know has this yet. They said on the FB blog that it would be pushed out over the next “few weeks” at the earliest. And now, with Timeline.com suing them, it may be even longer.

  4. Timeline is being set up as the “groundbase” for the next phase which involves RFID bracelets and kiosks at every major retailer in the country. Say good-bye to privacy as we know it. Do the research. Of course, the sheep among us will line-up for it.

    An RFID chip on the arm or IN the arm have one thing in common – a chip.


  5. My main problem with this is FB is not letting folks know where their info is going OFF SITE. FB you can control somewhat. And hold liable if need be. You cannot control what the app developers do with it. FB is allowing app devs to have that info too. I have already heard of insurance companies denying claims based on the posts they saw. The local news has picked up several stories of this and PIs using it for their cases. Considering one of the spam “who can see my profile” sham apps went to an unidentified server in Pakistan, it can be problematic. Each time FB does an upgrade security settings are lost if history is a guide. Will these settings you try to compartmentalize your life into be also? Money will flow into FB with this change. Will they share it with their faithful ad clickers?

  6. Both the article and the comments that follow makes this a must read! Was this piece posted on tpp b4? Wondering how I missed it if it was!

  7. If you want to use the largest, most active Social Media Channel on the expanding & evolving Social Web, use it. If you don’t, don’t.

    I have a surprisingly large number of friends who don’t us FB, some not much of anything.

    That’s not for me, and so I don’t criticize, I educate myself. That affords me some opportunity, but I realize it is my choice what I share.

    Studying personal branding as it is today should result in you not showing anything other than the authentic you & that which supports how you want others to perceive you, as after all, that is personal branding, like it or not, you have it.

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