Facebook Timeline and The Map – Privacy Concerns and How to Fix Them

Update: I have received many questions about the Facebook Map and privacy. As a result, I have written a new, more detailed post on the privacy settings.


One item that worries me a bit in the Timeline is the map feature. Professionally speaking, I can see some great uses for the map. For example, when I get a chance I might put in all of my various speaking locations over the past year. On the other hand, I was very surprised to find trips to the grocery store and the beauty salon on the map as well. In some cases, places I had only mentioned in the post (as opposed to checking in to the location) showed up on the map. This means that items I would not expect to be on a map for my friends or the public to see show up there.

I can easily see the map becoming a problem, showing people where you routinely tend to be at certain times of the day. Offering house burglars a sense of where you will be and when it is the perfect time to rob your home, or helping stalkers identify your location. Also, currently the default when you list something on the map is public. This means you need to quickly go in and change it if you don’t want your location to be viewable by anyone. I would like to see Facebook change this and I expect this will be a major criticism of the Timeline. In addition, it isn’t completely obvious how to change the setting from public.

I would like to offer two suggestions.

1.Go over your map before you make your Timeline public and change the settings to only me (under custom) if you don’t want specific information shared on the map.
2. Be aware that the current default setting for something you post on your map is public and be sure you know how to change it.

Changing a posting on the map to something other than public

Unfortunately, you need to change your map items individually. Fortunately, items that were initially posts and become map items have the same privacy setting as the original post. But if you are like me, and have a lot of friends who aren’t really friends, you might prefer that your locations are not obvious, so you might want to change those items on your map as they show up. (Click on the image to increase the size.)

Step 1 – Select the Item
Step 2 – Click to Open









Step 3 – Change the Setting

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