Facebook Timeline: Privacy Woes

After carefully flying under the radar my Facebook page finally succumbed to Timeline. Since that fateful, involuntary crossover, it truly has been a roller-coaster of emotions (or maybe for Iphone enthusiasts, ‘roller-coaster of emojicons’). First I was annoyed, because learning the new format seemed tedious. Then I was intrigued, I started to notice some features that were more appealing. My intrigue then switched to excitement, specifically over adding a new banner picture. It wasn’t until about two weeks in that I noticed the feature that so aptly gives Timeline its name, the timeline.

As a rising senior its time to start applying for jobs, and Facebook privacy is definitely a concern for many young people also entering this phase of their life. On the old profile system, it would take a lot of effort for a future employer to comb through a million wall posts and tagged pictures. On the old system, you could hide your tagged pictures with one easy step. Now that I have Timeline, I set out to hide my tagged pictures. I very quickly discovered what a difficult process it has become. Facebook’s official help center website explains the new process. Now you must individually hide each post or photo from your timeline for it to be private. Its practically impossible. I made my Facebook on August 1, 2007, five years of posts and pictures, after two hours I finally gave up.

Facebook makes it clear that if a user finds this process of privatizing too tedious, their advice is to ‘untag’ photos. It is unclear why Facebook seems dedicated to complicating their privacy options. But as  a young person potentially heading into the corporate world, my Facebook privacy remains a concern. Do I spend the hours trying to erase a five year web history that Facebook is advertising I celebrate? Do I want everyone to have access to my awkward teen years which are now immortalized? Do I deactivate?

I think that these are questions that many young people should be asking themselves. How important is the visibility of our pasts to the bigger picture? Timeline has been forced upon a lot of people, and the new format definitely pushes these questions into the spotlight.

Example: Awkward 15-year-old version of myself…immortalized.

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