Facebook phasing out support for Internet Explorer 7

Summary:Facebook has started phasing out support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. The browser is not allowed to show the new Timeline profile, and renders the old one instead. This is just the beginning.

Facebook is starting to phase out support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 (IE7). First to go is the service's new Timeline profile; when IE7 users visit Facebook profile pages, they don't see the Timeline version, and are instead presented with the old profile design.

That's right; if you want to avoid Facebook Timeline, use IE7 for your Facebook browsing, although you should know that it doesn't render the social network very well. Alternatively, you can set your user-agent to IE7 in your favorite browser, be that a new version of IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera, according to The Sociable.

Back in August 2010, Facebook announced plans to end Internet Explorer 6 support for Facebook Chat. Nowadays, Facebook is pretty much unusable in IE6. Menlo Park is now aiming to do the same with Microsoft's five year-old browser (IE7 was released in October 2006).

IE7 has 5.28 percent market share as of November 2011 according to Net Applications, and 4.26 percent as of last month according to StatCounter. This is in fact lower than IE6, because IE8 followed IE7 much faster than IE7 followed IE6. Microsoft is trying to push everyone to use IE8 (Windows XP) and IE9 (Windows Vista and Windows 7), although it did note last year that companies are keeping IE6 around as a Facebook blocker.

Facebook is unlikely to stop just at the new Timeline profile. Mark my words. This is the beginning of the end for IE7 support on Facebook, even if the company hasn't yet said anything officially. Facebook's Help Center is very vague when answering the question "What web browsers does Facebook support?":

We recommend using the most up-to-date version of one of the following browsers:

I have contacted Facebook regarding its plans for IE7 and will update this article if I hear back.

See also:

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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