Monday, December 19, 2011

Facebook – Timeline or Time Bomb?


Facebook is changing the way you see the site. Instead of the coherent flow of updates and information you currently enjoy, Facebook is copying the older MySpace style layout, to give all of the pages a scrapbook type appearance, and ripping off Timeline.com by prominently naming it “Timeline”.

The change is significantly more far-reaching than creating chaos out of order. You better start reading and understanding the privacy implications. You might want to take a look at what PC World calls “6 must-do privacy tweaks”.  

If you haven’t seen the new look, then you might want to read about everything you are likely to hate about the new look at http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/12/everything-youll-hate-about-new-facebook-timeline/46237/.

Most users have probably not yet been converted over to the new look, but already there is a growing backlash. Pages like Undo Timeline https://www.facebook.com/pages/Undo-Timeline/322551701106897 are rapidly gaining in popularity and user complaints are rampant. Facebook is not at all likely to listen to user complaints however. The reason behind timeline is not to enhance the user experience, it is to sell more advertising. One of the metrics Facebook uses to sell ads is how much time users spend on the site. The new look forces users to spend/waste more time setting up their page and viewing other pages. By design, most of the page is wasted at the top with a graphic, called a ‘cover’, that you probably don’t want to see on every visit and only serves to keep you on the page longer.

So, how do you protest the change? Liking pages, such as Undo Timeline is a start. When you set up “Timeline” Facebook they ask that you not use a cover that is the same as someone else’s. I recommend that all protesters choose the same cover. Feel free to use the one I will be using…


This alone is not likely to accomplish much, other than to amuse others who dislike the change, but there is something you can do that will be effective if millions of protesters join in. If you make timelines unattractive to advertisers then Facebook will either listen or disable feedback. Here is how you effectively protest.

When you visit a page go straight to the ads and point to the upper right corner of the ad. This will make a little X appear that you can click on and choose to hide the ad. Next you will be asked why you are hiding the ad. I suggest you choose “other” and type in “Protest Timeline”. Here are some pictures to help you. Apologies to Lutron Electronics, nothing against them, but their ad was handy.


                      

There is likely no more effective protest against Facebook than to kick them in the advertising dollar.

Some people are going to like or even love the change and that is fine for them, but if Facebook cared as much about a quality product as they do about advertising, the change would be an option. The fact is that Facebook knows most people will dislike the change and so they force it.

So, where does the time bomb come in? Mark Zuckerberg is alleged to have stolen the idea and code for Facebook from a couple of other Harvard students. The claim was compelling enough that Facebook settled a lawsuit for a significant sum of money and stock. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ConnectU. Seemingly, even a young dog isn’t learning new tricks and a website called Timeline.com has filed suit against Facebook for trademark infringement. If you know Facebook’s history, then you know that Facebook is engaging in far more egregious activity than others have that Facebook accused of Trademark infringement. Facebook, following the ethical leadership and ideals of its founder has filed a countersuit that really should  thrown out as being frivolous. If justice prevails then timeline will blow up in Facebook’s face. I recommend you read the follow article to understand how two faced Facebook can really be http://paidcontent.org/article/419-facebook-countersues-timelines.com/.
Regardless of whether you like the new look or not, remember to routinely check your privacy settings on Facebook. I recommend you set up a dummy account that you do not friend so that you can see how the rest of the world sees your profile.

Randy Abrams
Independent Security Analyst  

37 comments:

  1. IS THERE ANYWAY TO UNDO IT? PLEASE HELP.!

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    1. yeah undo the facebook timeline profile and give us back the old and easy facebook profile.

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    2. Facebook's contact number. Here it is: (650) 543-4800. Press 7 to leave a message!

      Also, leave Zuck a nice inbox by inboxing him here: https://www.facebook.com/zuck
      Mark Zuckerberg
      Harvard
      Facebook..

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    3. There is another way - Everyone who wants the original just has to leave. If the advertisers lose their audience it may just cause facebook to re-think their strategy.

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  2. No, there is currently no way to undo it. If you want to undo it, follow my directions for protesting in the article and get all of your friends to do the same and have them talk to their friends.

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  3. They think im spending a lot of time on profile and updating it?..... i am currently spending a 1:20 ratio of time "hiding" the ads and pasting "Timeline protest." when clicking on the "Other" option.

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    1. How certain are we that our reasons for hiding adds reach the companies paying FB for them??

      I believe the task of selecting adds for the users likely to be interested in them lies with FB. While I hid adds, I got the feeling that this would simply affect my advertisement profile at FB, so they would simply show differnt adds to me, and then sell even more advertsement, because now I spent MORE time on their page.

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    2. There is no certainty, however since FB is going public they will have to be a lot more transparent. This will affect the statistics they use to sell advertising. Just because they show different ads it doesn't mean they sell more advertising. This may also confuse FB's targeting for advertising.

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  4. Thank you for the info!!! I can't stand Timeline. I can't find a darn thing on it & what I do find keeps switching back & forth from column to column. Grrrrr.

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  5. Everyone should close their accounts for one full week and see how much money Facebook can lose in a week just in advertisement.

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    1. ABSOLUTELY! An across the board boycott will result in NO TIME being spent on a page - it will be far more effective than trying to reach one advertiser at a time by the above method (which is a good method, not knocking it)and it is much simpler. All it requires is the self-restraint to DO NOTHING!!

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  6. What makes me sick is that everybody seems to think they need a FB page. If people wern't so obsessed what FB management does wouldn't even matter. Why does the world suddenly revolve around what's happening on FB? What is with this "share everytime I take a pee" attitude? I went to my credit union page the other day & even they have a "visit us on facebook" sign. Geez, what ever happened to a little bit of privacy? This is just another reason for me to hate FB more than I already did.

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  7. But it isn't only about those who share on FB. http://randy-abrams.blogspot.com/2011/12/facebook-is-tracking-you-even-if-you.html

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  8. adblock takes care of those pesky ads. i no longer have to see them on bookface.

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  9. Sometimes, some inventions do not work, this nonsense that you have created called "Time Line" is a setback, because people are dissatisfied and unhappy, few have the courage to come out and say what they think others expect someone to take some kind of attitudes by them, I have not changed my profile and do not want to switch to this new profile, but if that happens, I'll find other sites that have more respect for the user and not impose their own rules. Every invention needs to be tested before its final version, it works out , it is okay, if that fails, the project must be abandoned, if you have good ideas, use to create new things to the old profile, but who wants to change a lot , loses his own identity.
    The facebook is losing its own identity, and certainly will lose many users, if you continue this kind of attitude, people are here because they like this site, but we have the right to choose, without the users, Facebook will not exist , the site can continue , but with less users.
    I do not have Orkut, I have Google +, but I just come to Facebook, but if it continues ... I will close my account

    I put it in Facebook blog !

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  10. well i fn hate it

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  11. For those of us who still use Win XP. All you have to do to avoid the unwanted Time Line altogether is to simply downgrade your IE browser to 7.0. That's all there is to it! No more Time Line! You won't see it at all! The only way to really stick it to FaceBook is to, ditch FaceBook altogether and, go to Google Plus, much like people did when MySpace forced unwanted changes and there was a mass migration from MySpace to FaceBook. The same can be done to FaceBook.

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    1. Reverting to an older version of IE is generally a really stupid thing to do. It isn't worth the decrease in security to get the old interface and that probably won't last long either. Eventually FB will require newer browsers.

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  12. I fucking hate timeline and want the old profile back. it's easer. I hate it when I scrolllllll doooown I end up baaack on toppp.

    P.S. the timlene facebook profile SUX FUCKING SHIT./THE OLD PROFILE IS ASOME. WE SHOULD HAVE THE OLD FACEBOOK PROFILE BACK.

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  13. I HATE THE FACEBOOK TIMELINE PROFILE.IT'S TO HARD I WANT THE OLD FACEBOOK PROFILE BACK.THE OLD FACEBOOK PROFILE IS EASIER.

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  14. It would be stupid if you rely on your browser for security. No web site is mandated to "require newer browsers". That's only up to the webmaster to do. Thus far, all IE's work for Face Book that I'm aware of. Sure, certain features don't work with anything lower then IE8, like the chat feature. Not every one uses that. I sure don't. Again, it would be really, really stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid if you rely on your browser for security. The older IE browser does work when at this time, everything else fails. This post visible and, brought to you by, IE 3 on WIN 98. Does this website "require newer browsers" to interact? I don't think so.

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  15. You do rely upon your browser for SOME of your security. Security is a defense in depth operation and deliberately using a much less secure browser is generally fools play. If you know what you are doing you can use an older browser and contain the risk with other layers of defense, but it is ignorant to recommend the use of less secure software for cosmetic reasons to the general public. Again, really, really, really ignorant to recommend a much less secure browser for a temporary cosmetic fix to all users. Also stupid to ignore the very real role of the browser in a defense in depth strategy, especially for the general users. If a person isn't highly skilled in computer security, going back to older browser versions is terribly insane advise, especially when it is for cosmetic reasons.

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  16. Good info, I fucking hate timeline too. Zuckerburg sounds like a piece of work.

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  17. I agree with you Randy. Not only is reverting to an older browser a crazy idea, but the use of the plug-ins that make your browers look and act like IE7 is also silly. As I understand it, what browser or plug in you use, will not affect how others see your profile. They will still see Timeline, even if you don't. So what sense does that make?! The issue is still there, even if you refuse to look at it. Best course of action is to take steps that will eventually cause Facebook to let people "opt in" to Timeline if, like me, they don't have it or to "opt out" if it's already been foisted on them.

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  18. I agree with both the annon and Randy. However, the annon brings up a great point. It would be foolish to depend on your browsers security capabilities. I use Win XP Pro with IE6 for some tasks and Goggle Chrome for others. Zone Alarm Pro with Force field and Avast Pro with real time shields. Always! You really don't need to be a tech guru to have the best in computer security. I think it's a bit too early to say that, FB will restrict browser view to newer versions. Older browsers do work with the viewing of FB with no real danger, that is, if you have half way decent security already running on your computer. Always make sure everything is up to date and you should have no worries. You never know if, "IF" FB will limit browser view. There are alot of websites out there today that allow older versions, like this site. Dan.

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    1. Antivirus and a firewall is little protection against exploiting the infamously buggy IE6. Using IE6 is a gaping vulnerability. Yeah, you really do need to be a guru to approach having the best in security. The most important component in security is knowing what you are doing, not what software you are using. Using older browsers reduces the security of a defense in depth strategy. Yes, it is crazy yo rely upon the browser for security, just as it is crazy (in most cases) to reduce your security by using a less secure browser. If I was using IE6 I'd be using sandboxing or virtualization for containment. Even then, if you don't know what you are doing you can compromise real world accounts even with a sandbox or virtual computer.

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  19. It don't matter what version of internet browser you run, IE 6 or 9 or anything older. The only worries come from that sometimes older IE's sometimes do crash but every program eventually will. Funny you should mention sandboxing and virtualization. Both of my programs run these. Actually, my security programs make even the newest built-in browser security, (IE 9 ect) obsolete. Yes, obsolete! Today's browser security (without any additional help) would be compared to as a simple flimsy wood door compared to the stand alone iron door security programs out there today. Having said that, nothing in 100% secure. Dan.

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  20. Dan, either you work for ZoneLabs or you are very easy to trick. Yes, it does matter what browser you use. Older browsers tend to have more vulnerabilities, and do less to protect against phishing and arbitrary root level code execution. Defense-in-depth is not obsoleted by any product ZoneLabs or any security company has ever sold. Modern security programs augment browser security, they do not make it obsolete. Some salesman who does not have a clue about technology must have given you the false information about obsoleting browser security.

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  21. Do not set up a 'dmmmy account' as you may have ALL your accounts disabled without notice.
    Managing more than one personal account is considered breaking Facebook's policy that you agreed to when joining.

    Do not install any addon script to your browser, to not show JUST you the new timeline look.
    By adding this script you stop seeing all settings available, plus you also stop any further security updates to timeline.

    The article is misleading and dangerous.

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  22. Facebook's terms of service appear to differentiate between an account and a profile. The terms say you won't open an account for anyone else, but not that you can't have multiple accounts. The terms say that you may not have multiple profiles. Due to the wording I would expect that to mean that you do not have a fake persona.

    I didn't recommend a Firefox addon, however posting anonymously with no source of your information concerning the security implications, your comment about the add-on compromising security doesn't carry much weight. I haven't tried the add ons, but I can imagine they may block some settings, but I haven't verified that.

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  23. Denise AllbrightMarch 7, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    you dont need to actually use IE7 to make Timeline go away in your browser, all you need to do is change the User Agent string of your existing, up to date and secure browser. That way you have all the benefits of having the latest browser, for instance all the latest security patches etc, but you also trick Facebook into thinking you are using IE7, and they will then show you the older style profile pages instead of the Timeline pages.

    Theres a good article on how to achieve this using Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera here: http://fbpurity.com/remove-facebook-timeline.htm

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  24. A dummy account? No, the last thing we would want is facebook having more "users" signing up. A dummy account adds to their user data base. Isn't the goal to have facebook lose users to show the majority of people are not happy with them?

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  25. I started a petition to end timeline for anyone who would like to sign it.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/no-more-timeline

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  26. 1ST OF MAY EVERYONE WHO DOESN'T LIKE TIMELINE DEACTIVATE THERE ACCOUNT FACEBOOK WILL GET A SHOCK WHEN MILLIONS OF ITS USERS DO THIS & HOPEFULLY WILL FINALLY LISTEN TO US!!

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  27. Facebook is not likely to change anything because an anonymous commenter uses all caps to yell about the millions of imaginary people he or she calls "US". If there are really millions who hate Timeline, get them to all join "Timeline Sucks" (https://www.facebook.com/endtimeline) or "UNDO Timeline" (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Undo-Timeline/322551701106897) or any of the other anti-timeline groups. Seeing as none of these groups even have 50,000 members the millions you speak of appear to only exist in your imagination. I dislike Timeline too, but get sober... if you can't get 100,000 people to join a cause you won't get millions to deactivate their Facebook accounts.

    Today's computer training exercise for you is to find the caps lock key on your computer and figure out what it does :)

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. I am very unlikely to publish a comment with a link from an anonymous poster.

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