The new Timeline feature of social networking Web site Facebook is all set to revamp the look of your profile, potentially unearthing all the dirty little secrets you wanted to hide from friends and foes. Also, remember to exercise caution while assigning permissions to third-party apps and choosing what you wish to share or what to hide.

There are only a few weeks before the Timeline takes over Facebook. With that in mind, here are 5 basic steps to ensure privacy of personal information without having to stop sharing the lighter moments in your life...

'Hide from Timeline' - Your Best Bet

If you ever want to remove or not post private information to your Timeline, all you have to do is click on "Hide from Timeline"; available under the "Edit" or "Remove" submenu that pops up when you move your cursor over the top right corner of a Timeline post.

The point is that Timeline has access to private photographs and any inappropriate status updates you may have hastily posted. Inside jokes and comments made for the ears of only a select number of people may just pop out into the open if you're not careful.

Therefore, it may not be a bad idea to invest a few hours in hunting for those ridiculous posts and messages, in your quest to hide them from those you'd rather not share them with. You could also hide or remove posts through the "Activity Log", which stores a consolidated version of all your posts.

Change Album Covers to Ensure You Don't Get Caught

Photographs of yourself may be set to "Private". However, those in albums earlier hidden in an archive may now no longer be safe from a stalker's eye. In fact, you may not have realised it but those snaps in albums like "Profile Pictures, "Mobile Uploads" and "Wall Photos" are usually visible by everyone, unless you edit your privacy settings. To ensure these do remain private, open "Privacy Settings" and choose "Customize". At the bottom of the first section, click "Edit Album Privacy" and assign individual privacy settings for each.

Furthermore, you should also remember that even those albums normally kept private have album covers, which could compromise your privacy. To share some other photograph as the album cover, select the "Change Primary Photo" option in the "Edit" or "Remove" menu.

Timeline Reveals Where You Are at All Times

All those photographs and photo albums can now be geo-tagged, displaying the locations and times they were snapped at. Moreover, status posts and updates can now also be tagged with locations... say hello to Timeline's potentially putting your privacy at risk.

Unfortunately, in this instance, the solution seems equally daunting. You will have to untag yourself from all geo-tagged photographs or request a friend to manually remove geo-tags for such photos... either way, it will take a massive effort digging through the photo archives.

Apps Killing Your Privacy? There is a Way Out

There are an abundant number of apps supported by the Timeline. Unfortunately for you, the apps could end up spilling your private information. Be circumspect when allowing permissions for third-party apps, particularly those that automatically post on your Timeline.

Manage your apps through the "Account Settings" option, located at the top right corner of your profile page. Click "Apps", which will list all the apps associated with your account. You can then remove the apps you dislike by clicking "Remove from Timeline" or navigate to "App Activity Privacy" and reset permissions for users who can or cannot view the app information.

Evaluate Privacy Settings Using 'View As'

After an extensive cleanup session concerning profile messages, photographs and apps, you might want to evaluate your privacy settings. There will be a little gears-like icon on the far right corner of your Facebook Timeline. Just click on it and then select "View As". This will allow you to see your profile as an outsider would, allowing you to make any further changes.

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