Facebook Tests New Mobile Timeline Features, Including Video Profile Pictures

News Feed, pages and Messenger have been at the top of the list for new features and updates of late, but Facebook decided to give Timeline profiles some love, at least on mobile.

News Feed, pages and Messenger have been at the top of the list for new features and updates of late, but Facebook decided to give Timeline profiles some love, at least on mobile.

Product managers Aigerim Shorman and Tony Hsieh announced a host of new features for mobile profiles, which are initially being tested with “a small number of iPhone users in the U.K. and California,” with more users to be added soon:

  • The option of replacing profile pictures with short, looping videos.
  • Profile pictures moving to the center and displaying larger.
  • Photos and friends are displayed at the top of Timeline.
  • Temporary profile pictures, which were spotted earlier this month.
  • A new, customizable space at the top of profiles.

Shorman and Hsieh wrote of the new features being tested:

People visit Facebook profiles more than 4 billion times per day, and we’re continually looking for ways to make profiles the best place for people to curate their online identities and connect with others.

The new video clips will play for any Facebook users who visit profiles that enable the feature.


As for temporary profile pictures, the two product managers wrote:

When more than 26 million people used our Celebrate Pride filter, it was more apparent than ever that people use their profile picture to show who they are—even if it’s just for a moment in time. Profile pictures are not just static portraits. They represent what’s going in your life right now and what’s important to you, and we want to give people the tools to better express themselves in this way.

As part of that effort, we’ve started to roll out the ability to set a temporary version of your profile picture that reverts back to your previous profile picture at a specified time. Want to support your team in the week leading up to the big game, commemorate a special milestone like a birthday or vacation or show off a great #tbt picture? Now you can create a temporary profile picture specifically for those moments and events. It can be a visual status update to let your friends know what’s going on in your life today, or it can be your statement of solidarity for a cause you feel strongly about.


Shorman and Hsieh also provided details on the new, customizable space at the top of profiles:

You’ve always been able to control who can see the information you showcase on your profile, and now we’re making it easier for you to see what others can view by introducing a new customizable space at the top of your profile. You can curate this space—and convey what you want people to know about you—by changing the visibility of the fields that show up here. You can also fill out the new, one-line “bio” field: select certain public “about” fields like work and education details to appear there; and even visually highlight what’s important to you by choosing up to five featured photos to be showcased at the top of your profile. While this space is visible to anyone who visits your profile, you have full control of what information appears here.


On the move of photos and friends, the two product managers wrote:

We’ve also made some small changes that will help you learn more about the people you’ve just met and ensure you see the most interesting visual highlights from the friends you already know. People love seeing photos and mutual friends when viewing the profiles of friends or someone they’ve just met, so those are easier to see now on profile. Photos and friends are right at the top, making getting to know someone and seeing the world through your friends’ eyes as easy as scrolling.

Readers: What do you think of the upcoming changes to mobile Timelines?

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.