If you’re a Facebook user, you’ve probably recently started to use the Facebook timeline on your user page. You’ve probably also noticed changes such as the ticker feed and new behaviours of open graph applications like Spotify. Well, Facebook has very recently opened up their timeline applications so that many more applications can do the things Spotify can do, such as sending data to your timeline, news feed and ticker.
New timeline applications that let you showcase your activities can be found in a Facebook directory, but there’s a few privacy things you should know before you get started. Start by checking your Facebook timeline privacy settings and other privacy controls generally. Then when you add applications, ensure you know exactly who can see your activities and where those activities will be seen online by using the following guide.
1. Use Friends Lists To Filter Which Timeline Apps People See
Friends lists in Facebook are the default way by which you can manage your privacy and filter the information people see about you. At MakeUseOf we’ve gone into great detail on many occasion as to how and why you should create Friends lists, in particular for your privacy using the timeline. Check out the Facebook Privacy Guide for a more comprehensive overview.
An example of why this is important could be a jogging application such as Nike or a travel site like TripAdvisor. Which of your Facebook friends should know your favourite daily jogging routes? Which friends should know when you’re away from your home for travel? Surely not all of them! Don’t compromise your physical safety with a timeline application accidentally. Would you be embarrassed if your workmates saw which films you watch? Filter them out.
2. You Give Application Approval Once Only
When you click on the application from the Facebook timeline application directory, you’ll often be taken to the application website and asked to log in. Then you’re directed to the application approval page from there.
You only need to approve the application once to ensure your information is shared in many different places. This makes it easy to set up, but it might come as a surprise to some. If you already use the application, you’ll need to re-approve use to enable the timeline application, but the custom sharing settings you’ve previously set for that application will be maintained.
3. Know That Your Activity Is Shared Internet-Wide
So, you’ve approved the application for Company X. Now your activity can be seen in your Timeline Application section, in the News feed and in the ticker. It can also be seen on Company X’s website by default because you’ve allowed that access too.
4. You Can Change Settings Using Your Activity Log
If you need to change your privacy settings for any application it can be done using the application settings or via the timeline’s activity log.
5. Every Song/Movie/Book/Recipe Is shared
These applications will share every little thing you do, unless you can specify privacy options with the application itself. If you’re listening to music on Spotify all day, those tracks will show up individually in the ticker and in a bundle on the news feed and your timeline. That’s a lot of ticker updates (not that many people mind)!
And what if you occasionally listen to or watch something a little embarrassing in a live streaming application like Hulu or Spotify? Make sure you’ve enabled some sort of private mode first or it will be seen by everyone on Facebook who can view that application. If it’s a possibility, maybe consider protecting yourself against this by limiting whoever can see that application in the first place to just close friends. Your friends might still laugh at you down the pub, but at least you won’t break your grandmother’s heart or lose your job.
What worries you about Facebook’s timeline application privacy? Have you seen teenagers or non-savvy types accidentally exposing themselves to risk? What did they do?