Facebook Timeline is a Privacy Nightmare

Facebook has made its most radical change to the social networking site’s interface yet with the new Timeline. But it also allows other people to see everything you’ve done on the site.

The Timeline, which was announced this week to supposedly show everyone what’s most important in your life. But who decides what’s important? Facebook does.

The design looks innocuous enough, like having your own personal magazine, but as you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that it’s opened up your life to the whole Internet. Sure, there are privacy settings that let you hide certain posts, but if you’ve been on Facebook for more than a while, you’re going to have more status updates, photos, etc. than time to sort through them all.

Of course, this is all information you’ve posted to the site willingly, but lots of people have posted things they may not want everyone to see. Fortunately, there are ways to hide things you’re not so proud of and boost your important life events on the site.

Facebook Unfrienders

One post on Buzzfeed shows you how you can see which friends have unfriended you, simply by going back and looking at your friends you added in one year, and seeing which people have “Add friend” next to their names. At least at first. Buzzfeed now reports that Facebook has changed this feature.

Another major misfeature is the ability to update the world what you’re doing through apps. Spotify recently launched an app when they opened the service to everybody that has the option to tell Facebook what you’re listening to and recommending music your friends are listening to. Now your friends can make fun of you for your terrible taste in music, if they aren’t annoyed by all of Spotify’s updates. If that’s not bad enough, they can learn what a pretentious foodie you are by telling the world that you’re cooking rainbow chard for dinner. I’d suggest you tease your friends who are on a diet by constantly cooking Luther Burgers. (Yes, that’s a burger that uses glazed doughnuts for the bun.)

As with any change that Facebook has made to the site, it’s attracted a lot of attention and a lot of criticism. Once again, they’ve attracted a lot of negative comments. And for once I think they’re right. Facebook says they’re listening to feedback and tweaking the timeline, but I’d still suggest putting off adding Timeline as a friend as long as possible. If you’re really worried, you might just unfriend Facebook altogether.

We’ve covered some other recent social networking news, such as the introduction of smart friends lists and Google+ opening to everyone. If you really want to use Timeline out of morbid curiosity, see this post.