Facebook’s much talked-about Timeline feature is now starting to arrive worldwide. Here’s what you need to know:
- Timeline hasn’t anything to do with the news feeds you see when you log in, but rather it replaces your personal profile that is available for others to see.
- The aim is to produce a complete life history, or at least that part which Facebook knows about. It doesn’t change the information that is publicly available, but does gather it together in a clearer manner that means visitors don’t have to dig around your profile as much when looking for specific details.
- The feature will be viewable on the regular web page version of Facebook, on the mobile version, and on the Android Facebook app.
- The feature is being rolled out gradually worldwide. If you don’t want to wait for it to arrive on your account, you can activate it by clicking on this link: http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline
- Once your timeline is activated (either automatically or by you requesting it), it will only be viewable by you for the first seven days before going public, though you can set it public at any point during this time.
- This seven-day period is designed for you to review what information is available. To do this you can click on the gear (or cog) icon at the top right of the timeline and choose to see how it appears to a specific Facebook user or to the general public. This allows you to review the effects of setting different levels of privacy for different audiences.
- While reviewing the items on your timeline, you can click a star icon to feature it (giving it a higher priority); a pencil icon to bring up options including hiding it from your timeline; or a gear/cog icon to change what groups of people can see it.
- You’ll be able to continue making these changes to individual items once your timeline goes public, and to any new items.
- Timeline isn’t making any additional information available, but does serve as a reminder of how much information Facebook already has about you.
- The system certainly doesn’t work perfectly: my timeline wrongly suggests I was born in the city where I currently live, and celebrated my 10th birthday in 2007, a couple of months before getting engaged.
- Some of the information that’s now much easier to find and view could be very useful for identity theft and answering security questions, so if you’ve not bothered about keeping things restricted or private, now might be a good time to start.
- Posts made by third-party apps also appear in your timeline. This can be both a privacy issue and clutter, so reviewing the permissions you give apps (http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=applications) could also be a good idea.