4 Facebook Timeline Answers to Common Questions

Facebook's interface is constantly evolving, and Timeline is the biggest change yet. If you've recently switched, or if you are still stubbornly resisting the inevitable, our answers to four of the most common questions may not make you love Timeline, but they will help you manage it.

Wed, March 28, 2012

CIO — As Facebook switches another wave of resistant users over to Timeline, I've noticed a number of questions—and misguided assumptions—popping up in my News Feed. These posts range from, "Warning! Facebook is making everything public when you switch!" to "Why can everyone see what I'm reading on The Washington Post?"

For the average (and even the more seasoned) user, Facebook's privacy controls, new features and updates are a labyrinth. Throw in Facebook's most significant redesign, and it's no wonder users loathe its cycle of constant changes.

[Your Complete Guide to Facebook Timeline]

If you've recently switched to Timeline, or are still resisting the change, here are the answers to four of the most common questions I've been asked lately.

1. Will my privacy settings change?

The short answer is no. But, if you're an infrequent Facebook user (or haven't checked out your privacy settings recently), remember that it did redesign its privacy center last year, condensing a number of options to "make it easier for users to navigate."

With Timeline, you can now easily resurface and find old posts, ones that may have been added before you had the option to restrict them from a Limited Profile list or an acquaintance list. For this reason, you may want to delete some old posts or at least change the settings for some. Facebook gives you seven days from the time you make the switch to Timeline to change whatever you want before it goes live.

You have a number of options when it comes to dealing with your old posts. This section of CIO.com's "Complete Guide to Facebook Timeline" describes what you can do, from limiting the posts by others on your Timeline to manually deleting posts and changing individual privacy settings.

2. How do I know if I have the right privacy settings?

This tricky-to-find tool, called "View As," is an important one and can save you a lot of time guessing whether or not a part of your profile is viewable to others.

"View As" lets you view your profile from the eyes of the public—i.e. someone you're not friends with—as well as individual friends. Once you switch to Timeline, you can find this feature by clicking the gear icon next to the "Activity Log" button below your cover photo, then select "View As."

In the text that appears at the top of the page, notice that the word "public" is linked. Click on that to see how your profile looks to people you're not friends with. Or, to view your profile from the perspective of a particular friend, enter in a name in the box below.

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