No Thanks, Facebook: Poll Suggests Users Don’t Want Timeline

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Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces Timeline, a new feature for Facebook during his keynote address at the Facebook f8 Developers Conference in San Francisco, California September 22, 2011.

It’s large and in charge: Facebook Timeline is here to stay, so do you love it or hate it? Mostly hate it, according to a security firm poll of more than 4,000 Facebook users.

Timeline is Facebook’s way of jamming all your stuff into a kind of chronological feed. It replaces your profile and dumps all your photos, videos and posts into an info-stream organized according to the timeframe you originally uploaded or created them. That also means it’ll surface past status updates and photographs, making them easier for others to find and view. It hasn’t been fully rolled out yet, but will be soon, and participating isn’t optional — Facebook’s making it mandatory, as in “there’s no opt-out checkbox.”

(WATCH: Two Minute Video: Getting Started with Facebook Timeline)

Security researcher Sophos asked Facebook members what they thought of Facebook Timeline, to which 8% responded that they liked it and another 8% said they’d “get used to it” — call that 16% in favor. The remainder? Fifty-one percent found Facebook Timeline worrisome, while the remaining 32% said they weren’t sure why they still used the social networking service. That’s 83% with a negative take.

Sophos reminds readers its poll isn’t scientific, and that “the kind of people who participate in our polls might be more conscious of privacy and security-related issues than the average man in the street,” but says the results nonetheless indicate a general sense of unease with Facebook’s love-it-or-leave-it approach.

The Sophos employee who wrote about the poll was so put off by the amount of information Facebook Timeline surfaced (and, more importantly, the way it collated the data) that he deleted his Facebook account entirely.

What do you think, Techland readers? Are privacy or usage concerns about Facebook Timeline overblown? Or should the company have made participation optional?

LIST: 5 Things You Should Know Before the Facebook Timeline Switch Happens