Facebook is slowly rolling out all the new features, including the Timeline and the way apps now function, which it described at f8 to users around the world. You can expect the regular hoo-ha that users make about privacy, anytime Facebook does something new, until they get used to the new features and calm down. But this time, users might actually be onto something.
The idea behind Timeline was to facilitate arranging information in a way that Facebook displays everything about your life by year or decade. Each year, the feature will show you how many friends you added and who those friends are, as well as which photos you added and which photos were added of you as a sort of visual scrapbook. It will even show you wall posts that were posted to your wall in earlier year, in plain view. The thing is, you and I both know that Facebook sells your information to advertisers. Facebook doesn't make its money selling itself, it makes its money selling you. The way around it is to control the information you put up there. Yes, it sucks that there are certain things you like that you want to share with your friends, but not money grubbers from Madison Avenue. However, that's the reality of the world you and I live in. Controlling information on the Timeline, if that's something you want to do, is tedious and you have to go back year after year to get it done. However, it is doable and you can assign the Sunday afternoon that you were going to clean out your closet, to do it.
In 2006, you can see how many friends I made, which events I attended and pictures I was tagged in
Onto the feature that I think is the bigger of the two evils – Apps. Once you like an app, it will post everything you do on it. And I mean, EVERYTHING. If you like, say, a publication, say 'The Huffington Post' on Facebook, EVERYTHING you read, every intellectual op-ed and every piece of tabloid gossip will show up on your Facebook. The trouble is, most people do not realize this and also don't realize who they're sharing with. There's no more sharing only articles you like, you're sharing EVERYTHING. The funny part is, the privacy issue here isn't even related to advertisers, it's more about what your friends think of you. There is a way you control how you share this information, but most people – tech enthusiasts, included can miss it. When you like an app, you need to set who can view your post to just yourself. As you can imagine, the downside of that is if you are trying to impress people with what you read and you set the sharing to your friends or a custom group, you have to be extra careful what you're doing.
What could show up if you like the Huff Post
In my opinion, both new features are scary because they both have you tip toeing around with minimal control. You can choose who gets to see what on your Timeline by changing settings, but the fact is, if the information is there, the advertisers will see it. On the other hand, with apps, if you choose to like an app, you have to be doubly careful with what you do on it so your friends don't see you doing something you don't want them to see. What are you more concerned about? Timeline, where the issue of privacy is with advertisers, or apps, where your reputation could be at stake? Let us know in the comments section below.