3 Things You Should Do Before You Get Facebook’s New Timeline

Security & Privacy

There’s one thing I can say for sure about Facebook’s new Timeline: It’s better. I’m just not sure whom it’s better for.

It’s probably better for app makers and brand pages that benefit from the credibility they get from prominent mentions in your Timeline. And it’s probably also better for people who love to use Facebook to tell the story of their lives. But is it better for you? You’ll have to decide.

The idea behind Timeline is: “Tell your life story with a new kind of profile.” Knowing that Facebook’s goal if for you to share your story with the widest possible audience, you should take a few steps to make sure you are only sharing the chapters of your life you really want to.

1. Get your friends’ settings right and audit your friends.
Whenever there are big changes on Facebook, outrage follows. Then it fades and Facebook grows. You can expect a similar cycle as Timeline rolls out. The Timeline is designed to tell your story through the content you’ve posted on Facebook. Some will find that unsettling.

The fact that Facebook built a setting that automatically makes all of your past posts “Friends Only” along with the slow roll out of Timeline indicates that Facebook is anticipating some backlash. Facebook has made the basic friend settings easy and you can now easily change the settings on any old post.

If you’re a “Friends Only” user like me, I recommend that you take advantage of the “reset button” set all of your old posts to “Friends Only”. To do this, go to the arrow in your upper right corner > Privacy Settings> Under “Limit the Audience for Past Posts” click “Manage Past Post Visibility.” If you use this setting, you can’t undo it. You can edit each post’s settings individually but you can’t change them back all at once. You can always make any post only available to you by selecting the “Custom” setting.

2. Check how you are tagged
Anyone can now tag anyone on Facebook. And if a friend tags you in something it could end up in your profile. You can always remove a tag but unless you have your settings right, a joke picture could pop up right at the moment a potential employer happens to click on your Timeline.

Go to the arrow in your upper right corner > Privacy Settings> Under “How Tags Work” click “Edit Settings.”

Here are my recommendations for tagging:

I have Timeline Review and Tag Review on for maximum Timeline control.  Timeline Review lets me approved anything tagged with my name before it shows up on my profile. Tag Review lets me approve tags on my content. I also have Maximum Timeline Visibility set to “Custom” “Only Me” for an extra layer of protection.  I don’t let Facebook recognize me in photos nor do I let friends check me into Places.

This is about as locked down as you can get. But I’ve found erring on the side of privacy has never been a problem for me on Facebook.

3. Edit your apps.
An app can write directly to your “wall”/timeline if you’ve given it permission to do so. Fact is you probably don’t remember if you’ve done so. And now apps play a more prominent role in your profile. So you should go through your approved apps and delete any that you are a) not using and b) would never like to see show up in your profile.

Go to the arrow in your upper right corner > Privacy Settings> Under “Apps & Websites” click “Edit Settings”> Under “Apps You Use” click “Edit Settings”> Click the light blue “x” next to any app you want to get rid of. Now, whenever you use an app, actually read the permissions the apps want. And it the app can write to your profile, your activity will become visible in your timeline

Extra Tip: Turn of Instant Personalization
Go to the arrow in your upper right corner > Privacy Settings> Under “Apps & Websites” click “Edit Settings”> Under “Instant Personalization” click “Edit Settings”> Uncheck the box that says “Enable instant personalization on partner websites.”

Facebook has been automatically sharing your public Facebook data with third- party partners through apps for over a year now. Now that apps will be posting to your timeline, you may end up having your activity on sites you didn’t mean to make public show up on your timeline. This is being very cautious. But it could help avoid some unintended consequences.

In Conclusion

The fact is we can’t be fully aware of the implications of Timeline until its widely implemented. When will that be?

On Quora, a, a Facebook employee speculated that it would be before the end of October. (If you’re dying to get the profile, here’s one way people have been able to get it.) The one thing you have to understand up the Facebook Timeline is that it can make your life feel way more public. More than LinkedIn, Twitter or most any other site, Facebook has the content to tell the story of our lives over the past few years.

Going forward, Facebook—I believe—hopes that you will embrace Facebook as the channel for your lifecast and mindcast in a public way. And if you do, Facebook will hit the billion-user mark before the end of 2011.




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Wow, once again, thanks for sharing. I find this all very useful and I made the changes immediately. Why does Facebook assume that we all love to share our lives with the world? Contrary to what they think, not everyone thrives on narcissism. If this unnecessary updates continue, I might have to delete my account. Oh wait, I can’t do that either……bugger!

Although I agree with you about the whole, “not all of us want to share with the world” point, I also have to point out that you can deactivate your account, which is basically deleting it. Unless you’ve made things public, so they can be found through Google etc., then it’s gone when you deactivate. They only hold onto your info in case you decide to come back, they don’t make it all public and keep sharing it when you’ve deactivated… If you don’t like the changes they make to their FREE website, leave. You can always go back to MySpace… or head over to Google+. Unless you can run it better, stop complaining. If you can, go apply for a job then.

I accidentally set up a facebook account, I have never used it or activated it. Does this mean I am not on facebook, if not you mention that you can delete it can you tell me how please? I really appreciate any advice you can give me, many thanks.

Just do like I do and don’t put ANYTHING on facebook.
Why the heck do you people think everyone cares what you do or where you are?

Thanks for sharing, good info for me!
Well, facebook is something like to dance with the devil… I would be nice but you have to pay the price.



I have a slight concern. I’ve been using lists for a long time on facebook to manage what I share, and with whom.

If I default all previous posts to friends-only – I’ll basically be undoing all that work.

Guess I’ll have to go through everything manually when I get timeline.

hi i am getting frustrated and mad. when timeline first came out i didnt no what it was so i passed on it now i no what it is i want it but unable to get it for some reason please help me

why is it that i am unable to turn off instant personalisation on all partner sites,in the un-tick box below? have facebook put a block on me doing this?

If you’re in a country where it’s being used, you’ll have to click “confirm” after you uncheck the box. They really want you to stay opted in.

What about if the “Enable instant personalisation on partner websites.” box is ticked, but grayed out, making it non-interactive, so that i can’t take the tick out of the box! (I’m from the UK)

That should mean it’s not yet active in your area. But that probably isn’t true in the UK.

I have my tags set to be reviewed, however now that it switched me to the timeline, I don’t see where I approve them! Can you explain. I used to see a box that said needs review and I could check to approve, I don’t see it anymore! Thanks!

Is there a way to set it up so that when someone else tags you in a photo – none of your friends can see it but you? Hence, keeping the tag on so your name is officially on the photo and you can see it in your albums through your own FB page. The friends of the person who posted the photo can see that you are tagged in the photo.

But the old FB would allow me to set it up that my friends (who are not friends with the poster of the photo) would not be able to see the photo. Please advise. Thank you

If you’ve opted out of tag review, that won’t see the tag but they will still see the photo if they are your friend. Sorry. We don’t know any way to change that.

how can i undo the past post visibility… cuz my friends arent able 2 see the photos in which i m being tagged… i’ve timeline.. pl help me undo it….

i have been trying to get timeline for a few weeks and im not getting an green button saying get now, i have even tried to go on my friends profiles who has it and theres still no button. and havnt received an invite. please help me. i really want timeline.

Do you know how I can view photos that I’m tagged in even though they’re not on my timeline? Basically, I’m happy with the photos on view on my timeline but I’m sure there are plenty of other photos floating around that I’m tagged in that I don’t like so much. I’d like to remove these tags but am struggling to find all photos I’m tagged in. Hope this makes sense.

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