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Facebook Timeline Open to All Users

How can you better protect your information?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Facebook Timeline Open to All UsersThe Facebook feature known as Timeline has been available to many people for some time, but it is now being rolled out over the next few weeks to all of the social network's users.

The mandatory switch from the old-style profile to the new one, which logs all activity on the site ever and makes it easier for others to access, raises a lot of issues about users' privacy on the site, according to a report from Tech Crunch. The problem that privacy experts have with Timeline is that where before it would take a user a considerable amount of time to scroll through and find account activity from years ago, it now takes the simple, single click of a mouse.

That means posts users may have made in, say, 2007, which would have long ago been buried, are now widely available to view, the report said. And an issue that many who may want to delete posts they made in their younger days will face is that they'll have to go through and remove them all manually, or at least set the updates in question as being private "only to me."

Perhaps as a means in aiding cleanup, the social network also recently released a tool called Activity Log, which allows consumers to view all their status updates, changes and other actions in a more convenient way, the report said. This keeps track of every action posted since the day users joined the site.

Facebook has been in a number of privacy fights in recent years related to the way in which it protects its users' information, which may explain why it was rolling out Timeline less aggressively, the report said. For example, it didn't notify users when friends made the switch, and it is now providing a seven-day period in which they can opt in as a means of giving them a chance to go through their old posts and make them more private if they wish. Experts say that might only be troublesome to those who don't use the site regularly and therefore would not be aware that their account had been switched over.

Eduard Goodman, chief privacy officer for Identity Theft 911, writes a blog on which he advises social network users how they can better protect their private information.

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