Facebook Timeline, announced this week at f8, Facebook’s Developer conference, revolutionizes the Facebook profile as we know it, unfortunately at the expense of some pre-existing privacy settings and expectations. Timeline is expected to replace all user profiles by September 30th (you can opt in early at the bottom of this page).
All users’ birth dates appear on a user’s Timeline regardless of settings. Even if you choose to disclose only the month and day of your birth (and not the year), your age can still be approximated as a result of its appearance in the context of the Timeline.
I do not feel this is a betrayal of privacy but I am flagging it as it seems to be bug in the way Timeline works and that it may lead to the revelation of similar issues in the way we record our history and behavior on Facebook and across the social web. The fact that Timeline reveals your birth year should be among the least of your concerns [see my more in-depth post here]. (Another borderline-irrelevant privacy expectation that changes in Timeline is one’s ability to see which friends added in particular years are no longer friends.)
Facebook Timeline is an incredibly cool concept and a very sharp way to archive, scrapbook and view all the important events in one’s life. I’ve decided to go ahead and make public my year of birth, however, there does not seem to be a resolution for people concerned with age discrimination and those who wish to remain ageless.