Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has modified (or relaxed) user privacy settings yet again, and this time it’s targeting teenagers. As per the new privacy settings, users aged 13 to 17 can change their posts settings to “Public” and let anyone see what they have posted, which was not an option earlier.
Prior to the new settings, only those above 17 could make their posts public, and teenagers below 17 could choose a “Friends of Friends” options for their posts.
Facebook focusing on teens for growth
Also, Facebook has given yet another option of “Follow” that will allow the posts of users under the age of 17 to show in other people’s timeline, even if a user doesn’t actually know that person
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) opened these options for teenagers in order to become more competitive in the torrid social media market, which apart from traditional social websites includes mobile apps like WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger.
“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,” according to a recent Facebook press release. Additionally, Facebook said that although only a fraction of teenagers will be interested in making their posts public, the option will provide them the choice to share more broadly, as in other social media platforms.
More burdens for parents
The recent changes at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) may be exciting for teenagers, but it’s definitely causing dismay for parents who will be horrified with the idea of unidentified followers stalking their kids on the web.
And youth continue to sign up on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) giving their wrong age, which according to a report, is a common trick used by 80 percent of youthful users.
Kathryn Montgomery, an American University professor of communications who has written a book about how the internet affects children, is concerned that teens are not capable enough to understand the possible outcomes of their choices, and what can happen when they share their thoughts or pictures. Montgomery says that kids are not always able to think through to the future because they lack life experience, and tend to take more risks without understanding the aftereffects of their actions.
As a precautionary move to help teenagers from accidentally showing anything on Facebook, the site has given them an option wherein a confirmation box will appear on their screen when they attempt to post anything publicly.