Most Facebook Timeline Users Having Buyer’s Remorse

    May 7, 2012
    Drew Bowling
    Comments are off for this post.

If you’re one of the stalwart few who have held on to your non-Timeline Facebook page, here’s some news that might give you reason to wait as long as you can: apparently most of the people who gleefully jumped into the Timeline drink are concerned about the privacy of their information.

I’m not really clear why having the Timeline would increase anybody’s privacy anxiety more than having a non-Timeline page, especially since a simply conversion to Timeline contains all of the same info of non-Timeline page (I am so tired of typing the word “Timeline” right now). If any additional information exist on your Timeline, it’s because users elected to add it willingly. Facebook didn’t mind meld to you in order to figure out when you graduated high school or who your first kiss was.

At any rate, ZDNet is reporting via a study by Webroot that at least 88% of Timeline users are worried about their privacy. I suppose that shouldn’t be terribly surprising since most people in general don’t feel very safe on the world’s favorite social networking site. According to ZDNET, the most popular explanation for people’s wariness about Timeline is that it’s an automatic, opt-in feature.

If you’re a new user, yes, it is opt-in, but then again, if you’re new and Timeline was all you ever knew, how would you ever actually know the difference? Second, not every last Facebook user has been swept into the Timeline era. I, for one, do not have it, nor do several of my friends on the site. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the Timeline will eventually be applied to everybody’s account whether they’re ready for it or not, but Facebook doesn’t have an exact launch date for the full conversion just yet.

The puzzling concern over Timeline’s security doesn’t really seem enough to sound the alarm bells, though, as nearly half of the survey’s participants didn’t even do anything to adjust their privacy settings when Timeline was adopted.

Facebook does have an annoying habit of opting-in everybody into public settings whenever they roll out a new redesign, but the privacy settings are all still there. At this point in the game, it’s a good practice to get into of periodically checking your Facebook security settings just to make sure you’re not unknowingly posting lewd videos in public where your aunts and uncles will see them.

Does anybody actually consider Timeline to be a more porous user-interface when it comes to your Facebook account? If so, why?

  • http://www.Facebook.com Jumpkick Jones

    Drew, “privacy” is only one of the many concerns with this “Timeline” Facebook is trying to force on us.

    I think the privacy concern comes from the fact that the Timeline seems designed to ENCOURAGE people to explore your past. Yes, it was possible under the old “Wall” format, but it involved a lot of very slow scrolling down and waiting for things to load. With Timeline, your past is instantly thrown into peoples faces right off the bat.

    Further, Timeline decides for you what items are important enough to be “featured” on your Timeline, while posts that you might consider important yourself are often hidden. As such, that embarassing post about your ex-girlfriend might be clearly visible to your current girlfriend, while posts you made yesterday aren’t visible at all (as just an example of a common complaint I’m hearing about Timeline). Yes, you can hide most of this with privacy settings, but it takes a lot of work and time, which often wasn’t necessary under the old “Wall” format. The fact that Timeline is such a disorganized mess doesn’t make things any easier.

    More to the point however, take note of the most important line in the article you cited:
    “The most common response when asked what was most concerning about Timeline was that it is an mandatory, automatic opt-in feature.”

    The majority of us are pissed off about Timeline not because of privacy concerns, but because like many changes Facebook makes, they have chosen to make a change they know we hate and aren’t giving us any choice in the matter. In spite of multiple surveys like this one confirming the VAST majority of people wish to opt-out of Timeline, Facebook is still pushing ahead with their plans to switch us all over. They won’t even respond to our concerns, since they are worried it will hurt their reputation while their stock is in the process of going public!

    They even have a requirement in their own user agreement document, which says that if 7000 or more users “comment” on a feature, they have to offer us a vote on alternatives to that feature. In spite of people sending feedback to Facebook, people forming facebook pages called “Facebook sucks” (at least one of which has 30,000+ members), and people spamming the Facebook Site Governance page with hate posts aginst the Timeline, Facebook still won’t offer us a vote or even a reply to our complaints!

    What kind of business is that? Why should we trust them with our privacy, or anything else for that matter? Most of us firmly believe that they only implemented the Timeline because it has more space for ads than the old profile. It seems pretty clear Zuckerberg is willing to sell us all out for a few extra dollars.

    Does that help you understand, Drew?

  • Jack

    My main concern with Timeline its just to dam big to open may be if they fix that part and I actually get to use it ?? still think it look YUK on my friends smaller pages I can open but use No
    about a minute ago
    Basically any one who has a slower internet or shared wifi and has been on face book over 3 years or is a big user has BIG problems downloading timeline ps Im well over 5 years and well Ive posted 700 photos over that time so opening Timeline from here in rural Queensland is a JOKE and think Take India about the top 3% have full use of high speed internet but the next 40% have some sort of internet thats a LOT who will now slowly be locked out of FB then the rest of Asia and most of South America so yet I can see it costing them Millions of users and Billions in lost revenue Then add its Yuk to look at and hard to find things in and well a BIG JOKE OF an Idea that will cost Billions