How Facebook Timeline Works

Customizing Your Timeline and Privacy Settings

Facebook's help center features a video to help you learn about your privacy settings.
Facebook's help center features a video to help you learn about your privacy settings.
Screenshot by HowStuffWorks

Timeline makes it easy to hide or delete specific posts and pictures from the timeline: Simply clicking on the item in question, even on a phone or tablet, brings up a menu for these options. But for those superusers and early adopters with long histories of Facebook use, doing this on a post-by-post basis can be prohibitively time-consuming.

If you're in doubt about exactly what personal or private information might be exposed, it's even more important to explore your account's privacy settings and understand the options. Facebook has always provided these options, and over time those privacy controls have only grown more sophisticated -- but many users have never bothered to learn the basics.

By sifting your connections, friends, family and business associates into separate groups, for example, you can make sure that closer acquaintances are privy to more personal or recreational posts, while a more formal profile can be seen by potential employers or casual acquaintances. You can define these settings easily on individual posts and tagged photos alike -- or change the overall settings in your account with a single click.

Likewise, you're in control of the applications that you use with Facebook, and the way they publish information. By reading the small print that pops up when you click on a third-party app, you can be sure you're not sharing anything you don't want people to know. A big part of the push toward Timeline is about integrating other apps and services -- like Spotify, Hulu or Netflix -- in order to share the music, TV and movies that you enjoy with others. If you don't necessarily want those things broadcast on your Timeline, you can simply adjust the privacy settings for the given app.