Facebook Timeline a concern to users, Sophos poll reveals

In the next few weeks, Facebook is phasing out its old look and introducing a new profile format for all users - known as 'Timeline' - which presents a scrapbook of all past status updates and photographs.

However, research from Sophos shows that more than 50 percent of internet users are concerned about the Facebook profile update. The Facebook Timeline encourages users to enter more personal details about themselves and their life experiences, while making it simpler for others to view the information. There are concerns that this will instantly make it easier for identity thieves and stalkers to profile Individuals.

In addition, the Timeline will be updated automatically through Facebook apps that, for example, publish the last song listened to on Spotify, newspaper articles read online, or movie tickets purchased - all without having to press "Share" or "Like" buttons.

The online Sophos poll surveyed more than 4,100 global respondents on their opinion of the Facebook Timeline. Key findings from the research
  • 51 percent are worried by the Facebook Timeline
  • Only 8 percent like the new Facebook Timeline
  • 8 percent say they will get used to it
  • 32 percent still don't know why they are on Facebook

"The Facebook Timeline will be a wake-up call to some that they have shared too much in the past, too freely. In my case, the Timeline was the catalyst to reassess my relationship with Facebook - and so I've killed my account," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "If nothing else, Facebook users should take this opportunity to re-evaluate what they share online. It is time to spring clean your Facebook account and online friend relationships, and ensure that you are only sharing what you want to share, with who you want to share it with. After all, a website which holds details on your entire life, likes and loves, is gold dust to scammers."

Further information, including images of the Facebook Timeline and the poll statistics, can be found on Sophos's Naked Security site at: