Last week at their f8 conference, Facebook announced that your Facebook profile will soon be replaced with the new Facebook Timeline.
Now, I know everyone loves to hate Facebook but having enabled early access to it via the Developer program, I have to say I quite like it. And if I like it, so will the kids. It's scheduled to go live to the public from 29th September.
So, as well as us all having to modify our Facebook guides/slide decks with new screenshots AGAIN, I've been having a look over the changes that come with Timeline from an e-Safety perspective. My thoughts so far:
- In general, the new Timeline is designed to encourage users to add more information about their lives than before, including details about past events (you can now post photos and set a date in the past for when they appear, for example).
- It will launch alongside new apps to surface your activities on other sites (e.g. your listening history on Spotify). These existed before but there will be an increasing number of them. Anyone who has done the TUK training will be well aware of how powerful something like the knowledge of what music a teenager is into for someone trying to befriend them.
- Cover images (past and present) are set to Public visibility, and cannot be changed to any other setting by design.
- Places checkins are now collated into a single, easy-to-see-your-movement-patterns map. While there's no new data exposed, it wasn't as easy to see the whole picture before.
- Ditto for events you've attended that have public visibility.
- Your date of birth now appears as the first event on your timeline. It is set to Public access (seemingly ignoring the setting in the existing privacy setting), and cannot be restricted. This seems like an oversight to me but that's the way it is at the moment. Hopefully it will change before the public launch.
Where I've mentioned what is available publicly, this was evaluated by me using the 'View as Public' function provided by Facebook. I can only assume that this does in fact give a correct representation even though it is a simulated view.
More later as I find it...
Last edited by AngryTechnician; 24th September 2011 at 04:32 PM.
I can only groan... the settings are very mobile at the moment
I think they've finally taken it a step too far for me... fair enough, they don't exactly expose anything new here (apart from the D.O.B. privacy, which I hope is just an oversight) and it is very much down to how much the individual posts on their profile (I rarely post) but this timeline is going to make it stupidly easy for stalkerish behaviour to occur and potentially much worse...
That's it, time to finally disable my account.
By the way, has anybody ever "deleted" their facebook account? I did a couple of years ago, went through the whole process to permanently delete it (not just de-activate it). When I decided a few months ago to sign back up, all my data was still there as though I had never left.
I've noticed a few bugs get fixed over the weekend, but the birthdate issue isn't one of them. I've submitted a bug report to them this morning with a complete walkthrough video to reproduce, so hopefully it should get some attention.
Same here, this could be the step that makes me delete my account.
As for the public cover image thing, I hate that. I hate that I'm forced to have my display picture a random cartoon character now as well, as it's now public regardless of my settings. I used to be able to hide it, except for friends. Only then was I comfortable having my real picture.
We had a staff member here impersonated from just their display picture before, so I'm paranoid about it.
Why do people complain? Facebook dont care, its not your site it belongs to Facebook and you choose to give them your data. They can and will do with it whatever they like .
Would love to see where Facebook is in 3 years time.
Yes, they may own the data and I certainly agree you shouldn't post anything on there that you wouldn't be happy with the world knowing, but they lure people in with a false sense of security then change the game when they feel like it.
EDIT: I'd also like to add that I think it's hugely unethical to offer you the choice to delete your account when in actual fact they have no intention of doing so. Why lie to your client base?
Last edited by LosOjos; 26th September 2011 at 01:25 PM.
They don't offer you the option to delete your account, merely disable it.
Nice one, @AngryTechnician.
When you say cover images are public, does that mean that people can now see what photo albums I have published? Currently, only my friends can see them.
The links to Spotify etc are worrying if those are public.
The concerning thing here is how much of this stuff is now public. I accept the philosophy of "don't write it if I don't want it known", however I don't think that really covers it in full, as there are plenty of things I would happily share with friends and family, but don't want to share with the world - making everything I do public just means I won't use Facebook for socialising anymore and instead I'll just use it to play Bejeweled.
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