Internet Social Media

The Top 5 Privacy Tips For Facebook Timeline Applications

Angela Randall 26-01-2012

facebook timeline privacyIf 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 How To Control Your Privacy With The Facebook Timeline While the new Facebook timeline looks fantastic, there are a few privacy concerns worth keeping in mind. For most people, certain things will need adjusting before you can be completely sure that your posts aren't... Read More and other privacy controls 8 Steps to Regain Control of Your Facebook Privacy Read More 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.

facebook timeline privacy

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.

facebook timeline private

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.

facebook timeline private

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.


facebook timeline private

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.

facebook timeline privacy issues

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.

facebook timeline privacy

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?

Related topics: Facebook, Online Privacy.

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  1. Alan Byrne
    March 30, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Hi Angela,

    I've written a Facebook profile privacy scanner to help people understand exactly what information they are sharing publicly. I'd love to hear some feedback on what you think.
    You can see it at [Broken URL Removed] or by searching for the CheckSocial app inside Facebook.

    Drop me an email if you have any questions and keep up the good work educating people on Internet Privacy!

    • Angela Alcorn
      March 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks for this. It might come in handy for lots of people.

  2. Car
    February 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    i use facebook to keep up with friends abroad. however i get chills everytime they come out with some new thing that i am going to have to troubleshoot so the world doesn't know what i'm doing.i consider seriously deleting my account.also there are these strange pictures of elderly naked women that somehow keep poping up in my profile after years of asking for help with it. as a google lover i have avoided invites to google plus because i just dont want to deal with their privacy stuff.maybe going to google plus is the answer...

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      That sounds very disturbing. Have you tried deleting apps you don't recognise from your approved apps?

  3. hazar
    February 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Good one.

    Just found this :

    Facebook keyboard shortcuts

    [Broken URL Removed]

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Kind of useful - thanks.

  4. kashish
    January 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Changing your activity log seems a little bit difficult. Can you break it down in steps?

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      It is a little confusing, but it's all detailed here:

      If that's still confusing, it may be easier to change things through the application settings.

  5. Gary Speer
    January 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I know it's almost unthinkable but -- we all have the option to NOT use FB if their new designs prompt privacy fears or just plain anger at having to "change" once again. I gripe as much as the next person regarding FB changes.

    Yet still I continue on FB. *sheepish grin*

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      It's true. I just like to remind people what they're opting in to.

  6. Drax
    January 27, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Ange, thank you for sharing this with us. I thin it's appalling that in these days of privacy issues being very much in the public eye, that fb can go ahead and do something like this that appears to breach privacy by default. Incredible!

    • Angela Alcorn
      January 27, 2012 at 10:10 am

      You're welcome. :)