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Just In Time for Timeline: Some Tips on Privacy
January 26, 2012
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Facebook announced this Monday that all users will be switched to the Timeline feature as of next Tuesday, January 31st. Some people (George included) have already made the switch on their own, but for the millions of others who use Facebook and haven't explored Timeline yet, there are some things to keep in mind as the new look becomes standard on the social networking site.

Keith Wagstaff of Time Magazine has produced a handy guide to some things you should be aware of:

1) You Can Hide Things
With the new Timeline, a lot of information might show up on your Facebook wall that you weren't expecting to be there. Timeline is designed to tell a story about you, which may well include items from your past that you've forgotten about. Luckily, there's a button called "Hide from Timeline" - it's in the upper right corner of every Timeline post under the "Edit or Remove" pencil.

2) Your Album Covers Are Huge
If you've got any potentially embarrassing photos as the main pic on one of your photo albums, now's the time to change them. Before, album cover photos were pretty small, and not prominent on your wall. Timeline makes them huge, and places them front and centre. You can select a different cover photo by clicking "Change Primary Photo" in the "Edit or Remove" menu.

3) Your Pictures Are Mapped
Photo tagging now has geolocation capabilities - so if your friend tags a picture of you on vacation, they can add the exact place where you were to the photo. The only way to remove the geotag is to either do it yourself, photo by photo, or ask your friend to do so the same way.

4) Choose Your Apps Wisely
There are a lot of third-party apps that run on Facebook. Many of them are useful and fun, but some can venture into overly invasive territory, or risk turning your profile page into a corporate billboard. You can manage your apps in "Account Settings", either by removing the ones you don't feel comfortable with, or adjusting your "App activity privacy".

5) You Can See Your Timeline Through Other Eyes
There's a little "gears" icon on the far right of your Timeline page. It allows you to view your Timeline page as if you were other people - a stranger, or a specific person. This gives you a clearer sense of what people actually see when they arrive at your profile.

These are all useful tips for protecting your information if you happen to be on Facebook. But concerns about Facebook and personal privacy are nothing new. This video by comedy troupe Idiots of Ants, made in 2008, demonstrates that for some people, being on Facebook has always created privacy concerns:

Facebook in Real Life

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Time Magazine on Timeline Privacy


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