Finally, Facebook has made it easier for us to lie about our lives. This morning Gizmodo's Sam Biddle noticed an odd new Facebook feature that allows users to change the date of a wall posting on the new timeline feature. A new "edit date" icon has appeared, hidden behind a pencil icon link at the top corner of timeline wall postings, allowing users to change someone's wall post from the date it was actually posted to a previous moment in history. Biddle found it shady, thinking it might be a glitch. "What a dishonest, bizarre feature! It must either be a bug or terrible design, because I can't imagine any reason why it'd be in Facebook's interests as a social network to allow us to completely revise our social history," he wrote. Turns out its not a glitch and Facebook has a pretty legitimate reason for the new feature. Of course, that doesn't mean it won't be used by the most devious Facebookers.
Facebook plans on introducing this new feature soon, a Facebook spokesperson told The Atlantic Wire. The point, we were told, is to move posts that might fall out of place. Say someone went on a Labor Day vacation but the photos didn't get posted until today, one could move the placement on the timeline back to September. A more accurate portrayal of when the event happened. That makes sense, if the Timeline is to act as a visual autobiography of someone's life, as Zuckerberg has portrayed the feature.
But just because Facebook intends for users to organize their timelines, in practice, we imagine less wholesome usages. It's not only freaky that Facebook's allowing people to move anything around that might not be true. But beyond the science fiction aspect, imagine all the deviants that might appreciate a feature that allows one to move posts from the way top of a timeline down, out of sight. Like, criminals who might have hastily posted incriminating wall posts. Or cheating spouses who get caught via Facebook wall posts and photo tags. Of course, these people were too dumb to not post incriminating evidence in the first place. But now Facebook has given them an alibi. To a point: Facebook still keeps track of the original post date. But to go to Facebook, users would first have to draw suspicion, which is conveniently hidden deep in the timeline.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.