e-Safety implications of the new Facebook Timeline
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...