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Facebook Timeline mandatory rollout: You have 7 days to scour your past

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The time to edit your online persona is now

Facebook is the virtual home to more than 800 million active users, so any change to how the network operates is a big deal. And nothing could be bigger for the social hotspot than completely revamping everyone's front-facing profile page, and that is exactly what is happening today. Starting this morning, the new Timeline feature — that up until now has been an optional switch — is now mandatory.

The Timeline differs from the default profile pages we know and love in several ways. Now, rather than showcasing only your most recent posts, your personal front page can be scrolled back months or years at a time. Most importantly, this change can offer visitors a glimpse at your entire social networking past, all the way back to the day that you joined up. The revamp can be both a blessing and a curse for seasoned social networkers, as it can produce a bit of pleasant nostalgia, but also drag up some of your less proud public moments.

Left untouched, your Timeline may remind of you of breakups, job troubles, or even a few unfortunate party photos that you have long since buried. Depending on your settings, these black marks on your digital past could allow new followers — including friends or business associates — to see a side of you that was better kept tucked away.

Privacy is already a hot topic for Facebook users and the network's litany of sharing options can be difficult to navigate, even for the most experienced users. The company isn't oblivious to how the Timeline may drag up some unwanted past events, so a short buffer zone is in place to allow you to modify your online persona before making its new debut. You now have until Tuesday, January 31 to erase any past Facebook scars you'd prefer to hide.

The mandatory Timeline rollout will undoubtedly catch some by surprise, but you don't have to fall victim to the ghosts of past updates. Take some time to review your social networking history and don't hesitate to prune anything that you wouldn't want on the front page of a local newspaper, because as of right now, the clock is ticking. Or, of course, you could always jump ship to Google+ instead.

This article originally appeared on Tecca

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