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Facebook adds Timeline apps

Facebook this week unveiled the next step in its ambitious social graph strategy, which began in earnest with the recent roll-out of Timeline. The idea is that Facebook members can now bring their real-time activities to their Facebook pages, creating a wider and more intimately connected web of user interests.

The expansion to incorporate more user activity is achieved through a series of Timeline apps, which people can use to more easily share what they happen to be doing at any given moment. For example, if you like to share your musical interests, you can add the Spotify app and let everyone know when you’re listening to a great song. If you’re a traveler, you can add the TripAdvisor app to share tips about your favorite spots around the world.

The beauty of Timeline apps is that they work both ways: you share information about the things you are most interested in and your friends return the favor. Everything appears in your Timeline ticker to produce a more detailed profile of how you and your friends spend your time.

There are currently 80 available apps, with many more to be added later. As well as music and travel, there are apps for entertainment, fitness, giving, news, and shopping and fashion. Some of the companies and web services that have already developed Timeline apps include Ticketmaster, Hulu, Foodily, and Yahoo! News.

Of course, not everyone will be thrilled about the move towards even more sharing. In this case, it’s not just sharing with friends and Facebook but also with third-party app developers, which could lead to more profiling and targeted marketing.

Users can start adding apps at any time. When you add an app, your activity under that app will normally appear in your Timeline and News Feed. If you want to remove an app story, you can do so in the same way that you would remove any other post:

  • Go to your Timeline and click the Activity Log button under the cover photo
  • Click the arrow to the right of the story you want to remove
  • Select Hide from Timeline to remove the activity from your Timeline, or Delete Post if you want to remove it from Facebook entirely.

Your friends and other people you share information with can also share your activity with apps they use. If you don’t want others to share your app activity, then:

  • Click the arrow next to Home at the top-right of the page
  • Click on Privacy Settings
  • Under the Apps and Websites heading, click Edit Settings
  • Click Edit Settings next to How people bring your info to apps they use
  • Un-check the box next to My app activity.

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