Tensions Rise Over Facebook Timeline

By Jackie Cohen Comment

Everyone’s known that timeline would eventually become the official profile on Facebook and yet the news of the imminent switch has tensions rising.

Facebook said it will begin making timeline mandatory in a few weeks, but won’t tell us how many users have opted to upgrade already.

We asked Facebook whether the site decides when to make an upgrade mandatory based on a certain minimum number of people opting in, and got no answer to that one.

Instead, a spokesperson reiterated the official statement already given to us earlier this week, to the effect that the timeline rollout would start in a few “smaller countries” where the social network could “test performance,” beginning in a few weeks.

Surveys of friends’ profiles lead us to believe that significantly less than half of Facebook users have upgraded already. And we continue to note that the story with the most traffic on this blog over the last 90 days is Can You Take The Timeline Off Your Facebook Profile?”

Of course, complaints have followed almost every single upgrade the social network has ever made. But no protest of a site change has ever matched the 10 percent of the user base that kvetched about the original launch of the news feed in September 2006, so Facebook has become almost tone deaf to the negative feedback, even though the raw numbers are higher now.

As the site-wide rollout approaches, anxiety levels will rise. Timeline stress disorder cases will populate your Facebook news feed. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Status updates in all capital letters will refrain questions about whether you can get rid of timeline.
  • People will reshare erroneous advice on how to downgrade from the advanced profile. (In case you haven’t read the most popular article on our site right now, you can only remove the profile after the first seven days it goes live on your profile. Uninstalling the Developer application doesn’t work.)
  • Scams will re-emerge offering advice on how to get rid of timeline, linking to external sites bearing malware and no content even remotely related to the advanced profile.
  • Folks will post angry status updates about leaving Facebook for Google Plus but never leave.
  • The same people who squawk the loudest about resisting timeline will be the ones who ultimately take up the most space in your news feed with updates on curation of their new advanced profiles.

Readers, what are your friends saying about timeline becoming mandatory?