Facebook has announced that it is relaxing its privacy policies for teenagers. Minors will now be allowed to share their information publicly on the site. The changes mean that strangers and companies collecting data for advertisers can see select posts.
Prior to this, Facebook barred users between 13 and 17 from sharing updates beyond their extended network, which included their friends, friends of friends and family. When a minor signs up for Facebook they will have stronger privacy protection by default. They will, however, have the ability to change the settings so their posts and information can be seen by the general population.
Facebook became less popular with teens when their parents and grandparents began using the social media site. Facebook has 1.2 billion users, and the new changes show the site is working hard to hang on to the coveted teen demographic.
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A recent Facebook blog stated, “While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social media services.”
In its announcement about the changes, Facebook said teens are “among the savviest people using social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard.”
Facebook will be giving teens a reminder before they post something publicly. When minors choose the “Public" audience selector, they will get a notice that the post can be seen by anyone. It will also give them the option to change their settings to private.
Teens can now also turn on the Follow option for their account. By doing so, they allow people who they are not friends with to see their posts in their news feed.
Back in August, a Pew Research Center report showed 94 percent of teens who have social networking accounts have Facebook accounts. It also showed that 70 percent of teens with social media accounts asked at some point for advice on how to limit who sees their posts.
Facebook has already started rolling out the changes.
Edited by Alisen Downey