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Facebook tweaks privacy settings allowing 13- to 17-year-olds to go public

October 25th, 2013 | Comments Off

Another change to its privacy policies was announced by Facebook, they are now allowing teenagers from the age of 13 upwards to post content publicly on the site.

Formerly just those individuals aged 18 and up could broadcast posts to those they weren’t friends with. The update will keep this the default setting, but allow 13-17 year olds to change it as they like.

“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. So, starting today, people aged 13 through 17 will also have the choice to post publicly on Facebook,” said Facebook.

“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.”

But on the othe side, some parents and privacy groups had some negative reactions towards the changes, accusing Facebook of exploiting users’ safety in order to forward their business model (and keep competitive with rivals), nevertheless the social network had some additional extra warnings to try and keep teenagers conscious of who can see their posts.

“We take the safety of teens very seriously, so they will see an extra reminder before they can share publicly. When teens choose “Public” in the audience selector, they’ll see a reminder that the post can be seen by anyone, not just people they know, with an option to change the post’s privacy.”

Even though educating teenagers concerning how to stay safe on the internet is frequently seen as the responsibility of websites and parents, research suggests that the teens themselves are by now one step ahead.

Although teenagers are now sharing more information than ever before online the vast majority of them tweaks their privacy settings and is confident they can manage who sees their information online base on the studies conducted by the Pew research center in America suggests.

A survey from May 2013 pointed out that 60 per cent of Facebook user aged 12 to 17 had their profile set to private, at the same time as 25 per cent had it partially private, and only 14 per cent made it wholly public.

Girls were considerably more probably to keep their info “friends only”, 70 per cent vs. 50 per cent and more than half of users, 56 per cent, said it was “not difficult at all” to manage privacy controls with one in three (33 per cent) saying that it was “not too difficult”.

While these results do not essentially mean that teens are absolutely safer because they could be overestimating their ability to manage their privacy, it does specify that maintaining safe online is something that’s on the minds of young people and also to adults.

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