Just one in ten Facebook users supports 'timeline' feature
Published 30/01/2012 | 11:05
FEWER than one in 10 Facebook users support its plans to make its biographical "timeline" feature compulsory.
As part of a major overhaul of the site, all publicly viewable messages, comments and photographs will be grouped together by date.
The idea is to create an online scrap book telling the user’s virtual “life story” – at least back to 2004 when the site was founded.
It means that, unless they are deleted, any long forgotten musings, embarrassing photographs or even messages of affection for a past lover will be easily accessible.
At present other users can only find material from several years ago by trawling through past pages.
Critics claim that the change could erode users' privacy but Facebook insists that it will not make anything publicly available which is not already viewable.
A survey of 4,000 Facebook users by the security form Sophos found that only eight per cent of those polled said that they liked the change.
By contrast 51 per cent of those who took part said that they were “worried” by the new format while another eight per cent said that they would “get used to it”.
Users are to be notified in the next few weeks and then will be given seven days to go through their profiles deleting anything they do not want to be visible on their timeline.
A spokeswoman for Facebook said: "Timeline does not change any of your existing privacy settings."
There will be an “activity log" which will allow people to apply a extra privacy settings to each post.
It would mean that people can decide whether all or just some of their friends can see a particular photograph.
The spokeswoman said: "It will show you all of your posts and activity - from today back to when you first started using Facebook.
"Only you can see your activity log. You can use it to easily review and choose who sees what you've shared on your Timeline."
Paul Bradshaw, visiting professor of online journalism at City University London, being able to retrieve information posted on Facebook pages from a number of years ago may make people more aware of what they post.
"I think it taps into a wider issue that people make assumptions when they use a social media website regarding who can see what they're putting up there," he said.