Facebook privacy concerns: “I don’t know why I’m still on Facebook”
Poll: Over 50 percent of users are worried about Facebook Timeline.
With Facebook Timeline continuing to roll out on millions of Facebook profiles, security and privacy advocates are dubious of the new design changes in regards to how easy older information can be found.
As detailed by a Sophos Security post earlier today, the IT security blog conducted a poll of over 4,000 Facebook users in order to determine a general consensus regarding Facebook’s new Timeline feature rolling out to profiles over the next few weeks. Over 50 percent of respondents claimed to be worried about Facebook Timeline and an additional 32 percent responded “I don’t know why I’m still on Facebook.” Only 8 percent declared positive emotions towards Timeline and another eight percent stated that they will have to get used to it.
However, it’s extremely likely that respondents within the poll are “more conscious of privacy and security-related issues than the average man in the street” according to Sophos’ senior technology consultant, Graham Cluley. In addition, responses have been collected since Mark Zuckerberg announced the upcoming launch of Facebook Timeline during late September 2011. This reaction does correspond to a similar negative poll around the same time of the original announcement
Beyond the lighthearted responses included within the poll, Sophos Security raises a concern regarding the amount of information that Facebook users share on the service. Detailed on the BBC’s College of Journalism blog earlier this month, Cluley explains his thought process regarding his decision to delete his Facebook account. After attempting to tweak the security options, Cluley still wasn’t satisfied with the amount of his information available on the profile. He ended up downloading approximately 48MB of photos and other information from his Facebook profile before going through the deletion process.
Deleting a Facebook account is relatively straightforward, but the social network requires that a user goes through a 14-day deactivation period before allowing deletion of the account. Specifically designed to attract users back into reactivating the account, any action on a third-party site using a feature such as Facebook Connect for automatic login or Facebook Like to share interesting content with friends will automatically reactivate the account. Assuming the user can avoid any interaction with a Facebook function over the 14-day period, the account is deleted permanently.
According to a recent report from AllFacebook, brand pages may also receive the Facebook Timeline makeover at the end of February 2012. Potentially being announced at the Facebook Marketing Conference event in New York on February 29, Facebook officials would likely announced a date for the rollout of Timeline for brand pages as all standard Facebook users should have the new design activated by that date. Applying the new Timeline design to brand pages would allow companies and public figures to utilize the large widescreen format for pictures and high definition video clips.
While privacy experts and security gurus appear to be shunning the launch of Facebook Timeline, graphic designers are embracing the new format and using the top banner to show off creative designs. Design blogs such as Inspiration Feed and HongKiat have featured many Facebook users that customize the header of the Timeline profile with a stylish or funny image. Images usually incorporate the main profile picture in the left, bottom corner of the header.
According to Facebook’s head product developer, Timeline was inspired by the works of infographic artist Nicholas Felton. In particular, Facebook employees were admiring Felton’syearly annual reports regarding his life. As explained by Co.Design, these reports detail encounters with friends and family members, countries and states visited, statistics about his relationships and activities, methods of transportation, changes in mood, popular conversation topics, food and drink consumed as well as a compendium of various important moments throughout the entire year. This incredibly detailed account of his activities over each year presented in a visually pleasing, informative manner sparked the fire that lead to the development and launch of Facebook Timeline.