Facebook Changing Privacy Rules For Younger Users

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook is loosening its controls on teenaged users. The social networking site says it will now allow the 13- to 17-year-old crowd to do most everything their older counterparts can, including sharing photos, updates, and comments with the general public.

Teenagers will also be able to enable the 'Follow' feature, which allows friends and non-friends to track their Facebook activity.

The changes also mean third parties, including advertisers, can track these young users' Facebook activity.

Facebook says it has already initiated the change.

But Facebook isn't dismissing all controls on its teenage users. The firm will continue to, by default, keep the posts of underage users visible only to their friends, rather than friends of friends. (Source: cnn.com)

If a teenage user decided to change this setting to allow anyone to see their posts, Facebook will display a warning advising them against such a change.

Change Could Boost Ad Revenue

So, why make these changes?

Obviously, the adjustment will help Facebook generate more revenue from advertisers.

But some experts suggest the change will allow Facebook to better compete with other social networks that dismiss placing any controls on younger users.

For example, Twitter, Tumblr, and Last.fm treat teens virtually the same as their older siblings and parents.

Many Teens Turning Away From Facebook

A recent study by Pew Research Center found that teens are becoming less interested in the world's top social networking service. The study showed that just 23 per cent of teen users said they felt Facebook was their most important social media site. (Source: huffingtonpost.com)

By comparison, this time last year nearly half of respondents said Facebook was their most important social media site.

So, why the slip in popularity?

Many teens expressed concerns about privacy risks, while others suggested that the social networking site simply created too much drama in their lives. In fact, some teens went so far as to suggest that having a Facebook account had become a "social burden."

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