Mandatory Facebook Timeline roll out starts on August 13, some mumble

World’s biggest social network Facebook has started telling users in India that they have to switch to Timeline, a new kind of profile page, by August 13.

There had been various reports, dating back to February 2012, of an impending forced switchover to Timeline, but users had so far been given the option of retaining their old-style profile page.

However, several users in India have reported seeing messages on top of their Facebook pages that warn them that their profile will have to undergo a mandatory migration to Timeline by August 13.

“People won’t start seeing your timeline until August 13. This gives you a chance to review what’s on your timeline now (and) add or hide whatever you want,” the message from Facebook says.

Many users dislike Timeline and there is even a Facebook page for people who hate the ‘new’ look.

“I resent being forced to have this horrible timeline from 13th August- I DON’T WANT IT!” says a user named Tony Pickett on the page.

“Typical attitude of change for the sake of change. And some idiot got paid to come up with timeline!” says another user.

Users have apparently been caught unawares by the Timeline switch. “My timeline activated by its own… can anyone tell me how to remove it? Thank you,” says user Johnny Good.

“NoOoOOOOO!!! i got Timelined! WHY would they do this?!” wonders Isaac Kim.

The biggest grouse with the new page layout is privacy. Unlike the old Facebook profile page, almost everything that a user posted since joining the social network can now be seen by all his connections by scrolling down a few screen-fulls.

Earlier, it would have taken much more scrolling and searching to ‘move back in time’ on user profiles.

It is now easy to scroll back years on a user’s profile to find out what he or she posted long back. Many employers try to scan the Facebook profiles of prospective employees to get clues about his or her political views, sociability, personal prejudices etc..

The ease of ‘going back in time’ also means that old pictures, embarrassments and ‘issues’ will tend to remain fresh forever in front of your ‘friends’ on Facebook.

The other grouse is that everything is now squeezed into about 40% of the display area, resulting in photos getting chopped from the sides and the overall design feeling a bit cluttered.

“Layout reminds me of HTML circa 2002,” says Lee Poland.

“Timeline clutters up everything… The old page was a timeline… Everything was a sequential scroll… [] I really hate that you are forcing me to use it,” complains Steve Lancaster.