4 Facebook Timeline Settings to Revisit

As Facebook forces Timeline onto users who have held out, here's a refresher on important privacy and account settings to change.

If you are one of the many Facebook users who have resisted the switch to Timeline, your days with the old format are numbered: Reports say that Facebook will begin rolling out Timeline to all members by the fall.

Facebook users have been critical of the new design from the start, raising privacy concerns and voicing dissatisfaction with the new design.

If you've held out on moving to timeline, here's a rundown of important privacy and account settings you should revisit before going live with your new profile.

1. Change Your Facebook Wall's Privacy Settings


With Timeline, every status update, wall post and photo ever posted since the day you joined Facebook becomes easily searchable to you and your friends by using the sliding bar on the right to search by date. For many—especially early adopters who used Facebook before its more robust privacy settings—dredging up the past for all to see could be a privacy nightmare.

When you or Facebook migrates your account to the new Timeline, you'll have one week to make adjustments to your past posts and privacy settings before your Timeline will go live for everyone to see. You can publish your Timeline yourself anytime within the seven-day waiting period. Use this time to adjust your settings.

You have three options for adjusting your settings, based on the level of privacy you want to achieve. You can make all of your posts friends-only, limit who sees posts by others on your timeline or edit the privacy setting of every post manually.

For step-by-step instructions for all of these, read more here.

[Your Complete Guide to Facebook Timeline]

2. Review Your "Likes"

With the old Facebook profile, pages you "liked" and your interests were buried under your Info tab. Timeline, however, resurfaces these sections and places them at the top of your Timeline, below your cover photo.


To review all your likes from each year you've used Facebook, and to browse the interests you added over the years, click the "Likes" icon.

The first section will show you your interests. To add or remove some, click the "Edit" button at the top. The section below that will show you the pages you liked by year, and your friends who also like that page. To remove any of these, click on the page's name, then select "Unlike."

3. Check Your Notification Settings


Facebook sends you notifications to the email address you provided whenever certain actions are taken on the social network that involve you. To prevent a barrage of email—or to increase your visibility into what you miss when you're not logged on—visit your Notifications Settings page.

To find this page, click the drop-down menu in the top right of your Facebook page and click Account Settings. From the left-side navigation, choose the Notifications tab.

On this page you can elect to receive a summary email detailing all important updates, or you can choose to be emailed only when select actions occur. For the former, check the box on the top under Email Frequency.

[5 Facebook Timeline Changes You Can't Wait to Make]

Your Notifications page is broken into two sections: recent notifications and all notifications. Recent notifications will show you the latest actions that involve you, such as who has liked a photo of you, who has commented on a post and who has written on your timeline. You'll also notice an envelope next to each action: If the envelope is greyed out, you don't receive an email notification for this action. If the envelope is blue, you do.

The "all notifications" section is where you can edit the notifications you receive. Click on the options to display a drop-down menu, then add or change actions you want Facebook to notify you of via email. These include when someone sends you a message, writes on your wall, pokes you, tags you and more.

4. Delete Apps You Don't Use

Soon after Facebook unveiled Timeline, it also introduced a bevy of new apps and games just for Timeline users. You've likely seen activity from these new apps broadcast in your news feed and ticker when people read a story on Yahoo or The Washington Post's social reader, for example.

If you aren't sure whether you've subscribed to any of these apps—or whether your activity is being broadcast to your Facebook friends—take some time to review your settings, which you can find on your Privacy Settings page.

From the drop-down menu in the top-right of your screen, select Privacy Settings then choose Edit Settings next to Apps and Websites. On the apps privacy page, click Edit Settings next to "Apps you use"—this will show you all the apps that you have downloaded, and the privacy and permissions associated with them.


Here, you can remove the app if you no longer want it connected to your account. You can also preview what permissions the app has and remove certain ones (some are mandatory, which you cannot remove).

[9 New and Noteworthy Facebook Timeline Apps]

The last option, "App activity privacy" will tell you who can see posts and activity from this app. If you don't want Facebook to share your activity, change this option to Only Me.

Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and enterprise collaboration for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at kburnham@cio.com

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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