Why Does My Timeline on Facebook Keep Flashing?

by David Nield

A large number of unofficial browser extensions and plugins have sprung up to enhance the Facebook website and add a feature that isn't provided by default, whether it's the ability to change your profile, hide certain features or tweak the appearance of the news feed. If your Timeline is flashing, it's likely that one of these extensions is malfunctioning.

Alternative Browsers

Installing and running an alternative browser can quickly determine whether your Facebook problem is browser related. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are all available free across multiple platforms. If the problem persists across more than one browser, another application on your system may be responsible. Check your installed security tools and ensure Facebook is listed as a safe and trusted site. You can also check the status of the Facebook network itself from the Platform Status page (link in Resources) to see if any issues are reported there.

Removing Plugins and Extensions

Head to the extension manager for your browser of choice to remove any plugins and add-ons related to Facebook that may be interfering with its operation and causing your Timeline to flash. In Internet Explorer, select "Manage Add-ons" from the Tools menu. In Mozilla Firefox open up the "Tools" menu and then choose "Add-ons." In Google Chrome, the relevant screen is under "Tools" and then "Extensions" on the Chrome menu. It's possible that the faulty add-on isn't directly related to Facebook -- you might want to try disabling all extensions and plugins and then re-enabling them one by one to identify which one is to blame.

Malware Scan

If you are sure the issue isn't related to your browser software, then it's possible that a malware infection is causing problems -- the flashing Timeline may be a malware program trying to display advertisements in the browser, or even capture your keystrokes, for example. Ensure your security tools are updated to the latest versions and then run a thorough scan of your system to look for potential security threats. You might also want to install a free standalone utility, such as Microsoft Safety Scanner or Spybot Search & Destroy, for an extra layer of protection.

General Troubleshooting

Use the latest available version of your Web browser. Most browsers have an auto-update function built in, or you can download upgrades from the browser developer's website. Double-check your browser address bar and bookmark shortcuts to verify that you are accessing the official Facebook website without any preceding URL information; the address should begin "https," denoting that a secure connection to Facebook has been established.

About the Author

An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.

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