timeline-privacy

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