Timeline puts your life in Facebook’s hands

WE ARE born, we live, we die – and now we can do it all on Facebook. The social network recently rolled out Timeline, a dramatic update to its profile pages that lists everything you have ever done on the site in reverse order, right back to your very first post. You can even recreate your past, posting “status updates” to fill out your Timeline from birth.

This is more than just a design upgrade. Timeline is going to change the way we use Facebook, especially when it comes to viewing other people’s profiles. “People will be doing more digging, just because that’s human nature,” says Rik Ferguson, a security researcher at Trend Micro in Marlow, UK. We can expect a split between those who share information from before they joined Facebook and those who don’t. “I haven’t uploaded any past activity and I have no intention of doing it,” says Ferguson. “There’s another generation of Facebook users who are quite happy to have large amounts of their past and present stored online and shared with their community of friends.”

Facebook would love to have everyone fill in their past, of course, as it provides yet another set of data that advertisers can exploit. But uploading our entire lives could have more long-term consequences than a few targeted ads.

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