Facebook Eases Restrictions on Teen Sharing, Allows them to go Public
October 17, 2013 1:46 PM
Teens still have the option to manually keep their posts and photos private or shared only with friends or friends of friends
A privacy feature that once kept teenagers from sharing
photos or posts with the public has been lifted.
, Facebook will now allow users under the age of 18 to share their Facebook posts with anyone they choose. In addition, teens can now use the "Follow" feature, which allows strangers to receive public posts from another user without the need to become "friends."
The company used to restrict minors to sharing photos/posts with friends or friends of friends only. But Facebook said that this prevents teens from spreading important information, like posts about fundraisers or if their band is playing a show.
"Teens are among the savviest people using of social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard," 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."
Other social networks like Twitter allow minors to tweet to whoever they'd like. This puts pressure on Facebook to do the same in order to further its business.
However, some argue that Facebook allows for greater sharing than others like Twitter or Instagram.
Facebook will continue to enforce its private messaging restriction, where minors can only send and receive messages between friends and friends of friends.
Facebook will also show a special notice to teens the first couple of times they post public information so that they're aware of who can see their information.
It's hard to say how this will go over, but if history is any indication of the future, Facebook will likely see a lot of
on its case. But this time, ironically, it's for allowing users too much control over their own privacy.
Teens -- like anyone else on Facebook -- still have the option to manually keep their posts and photos private or shared only with friends or friends of friends.
Just last month, Facebook caught the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) attention with its
, which included new features like "Tag Suggest," where facial recognition is used to match faces in photos with public profile features. Facebook has
danced with the FTC
many times before that regarding privacy as well.
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