Facebook tries to win back teens by letting them post publicly

Oct 16, 2013 by Jessica Guynn

Facebook Inc. is lifting restrictions on teens to let them share more information publicly in a bid to regain the popularity it has lost to Twitter, Snapchat and other social networks.

Before the change, ages 13 to 17 could share information only with or friends of friends. Now Facebook is giving them more control over what information they share publicly.

"Teens," the company said in a blog post, "want to be heard."

With the new policy, teens' settings will automatically share information only with friends - but they will have the ability to change those settings.

Privacy watchdogs immediately cried foul. Facebook says its updated teen privacy policy now mirrors its competitors'. The changes were to begin rolling out Wednesday.

Facebook is ubiquitous among teens. Some 94 percent of teens are said to have Facebook accounts.

But Facebook has been overshadowed in recent years even by its own photo-sharing service Instagram, along with other social networks that are seen as being a bit hipper than Facebook and where their parents don't hang out.

Pew Research Center's Internet Project recently found that many teens take their privacy very seriously. Teens who choose to change their settings will be asked twice if they are sure they want to that broadly, Facebook said.

Privacy watchdogs warned Wednesday that Facebook still isn't doing enough to protect young users. Privacy groups recently sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to examine the data Facebook collects on teens.

Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, called on the FTC to step in and protect teen privacy on Facebook.

"Facebook is being dishonest with parents and teens. To parents and teens, Facebook is claiming they are giving them more options to protect their privacy. But in reality, they are making a teen's information more accessible, now that they have the option to post publicly," said Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy. "Today's announcement actually removes a safeguard that teens currently have, that they only can expose (share) their posts with friends of friends. Under Facebook's new plan, a teen can share their information with anyone on Facebook or the Internet."

Explore further: Twitter overtakes Facebook among US teens

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google to add user recommendations to advertising

Oct 15, 2013

Taking a page from Facebook, Google Inc. said Friday that it may start showing its users' recommendations and comments in advertising that appears on Google services and millions of other sites across the ...

Recommended for you

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

3 hours ago

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

How much do we really know about privacy on Facebook?

5 hours ago

The recent furore about the Facebook Messenger app has unearthed an interesting question: how far are we willing to allow our privacy to be pushed for our social connections? In the case of the Facebook ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

5 hours ago

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

Google to help boost Greece's tourism industry

17 hours ago

Internet giant Google will offer management courses to 3,000 tourism businesses on the island of Crete as part of an initiative to promote the sector in Greece, industry union Sete said on Thursday.

Music site SoundCloud to start paying artists

Aug 21, 2014

SoundCloud said Thursday that it will start paying artists and record companies whose music is played on the popular streaming site, a move that will bring it in line with competitors such as YouTube and Spotify.

Facebook awards 'Internet Defense Prize'

Aug 21, 2014

Facebook awarded a $50,000 Internet Defense Prize to a pair of German researchers with a seemingly viable approach to detecting vulnerabilities in Web applications.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Humpty
1 / 5 (8) Oct 16, 2013
"Teens want to be heard" and we want to build profiles on them, that we can sell to marketers.

Hmmmm fuck you Facebook.