Facebook Changes Privacy Setting for Teenagers

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013

Image from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk

Image from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk


Facebook has recently made some changes to its privacy rules for teenagers. According to the new policy, teenagers between the ages 13 and 17 can now share their posts with everyone on the Internet. They can post status updates, images and videos that can be seen by anyone, and not just their friends or people who know their friends.These changes might help Facebook to become more competitive against other social media networks that appeal to young users. Also, having public data on teenagers, and their likes/dislikes will attract more advertisers.

When an underage user signs up for a Facebook account their posts will be shown to a narrower audience by default –only to Friends. If teenagers decide to choose “Public” in the audience selector setting then they will 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. And if they continue to post publicly, they will get another reminder saying that anyone in the public can see their posts now. Default settings for existing teenagers with profiles won’t change or affect past posts. Besides giving warnings to the users while changing their setting to private, Facebook also maintains the privacy of teenagers online by:

  • Designing features that will remind them of who they are sharing their information with and to limit interaction with strangers.
  • Protecting sensitive information of minors from appearing in the public like contact info, school and birthday.
  • Reminding minors that they should only accept friend request from people they know.
Image from www.facebook.com

Image from www.facebook.com


In a blog post, Facebook says that it has loosened the privacy restrictions to make its service more enjoyable for teenagers, and give them an opportunity to express their views and opinions in a public platform. Justifying its new move, Facebook states “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.”

Image from http://therealtimereport.com/

Image from http://therealtimereport.com/

Although Facebook has implemented many security measures to protect teenagers, there are still certain risks that need to be addressed. Security risks with the new change in privacy policy for teen:

  • Technological advances have made it possible to analyze large amounts of data and identify patterns. Facebook collects massive amounts of personal data and its search engine allows users to filter through a trove of information, including “status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments.” So, the more information teenagers share in public the easier it will for unintended parties to find them. Some of the searches on Facebook might reveal controversial or embarrassing views, relationships and experiences of underage users.
  • Teenagers might become a victim of targeted advertisement by sharing their interests on food, clothing or technology in public. The businesses that depend on social media for reaching out to their customers will be hugely benefited from this move. Valuable data on teen’s interests will help them in shaping marketing efforts for their businesses. For example “Favorite teen retailer Forever 21 engages its Facebook fans by posting pictures of models wearing its clothing on city streets. Customers can then purchase the items by clicking on a link that leads directly to its store. Since teenagers are statistically more susceptible to peer pressure than older Facebookers, seeing these outfits in action is more likely to prompt them to click through to see the items in the photo.”
  • Kids can bypass parental control and permission, and might end up offering sensitive information to strangers online. Cyberbullies can use that information to harass, blackmail or demean children. Through private profiles or fake identities, bullies can make outrageous claims and attacks without having to worry about retribution or consequences of any kind.
  • Facebook does not have a reliable way of verifying if somebody signing up a Facebook account is a minor or not. Millions of kids fake their age to get on to Facebook. Therefore Facebook needs to implement controls to verify user’s age and provide younger children with a safe, secure and private experience that allows them to interact with verified friends and family members without having to lie about their age.

Social Media & Security Through SpiderOak

Social media users should be aware of how their data is collected and used before using any social media site or platform. Don’t upload anything you don’t want shared and exploited for advertising purposes. And be sure to exclusively store anything sensitive to a secure cloud provider. For most users, finding a truly protected third party cloud service can be a challenge as many “secure” services on the market have security gaps that leave data and private info wide open to third party attacks, leaks, or hacking. One cloud storage and sync service that sets itself apart from the rest of the market is SpiderOak. This service provides users with fully private cloud storage and syncing, featuring all of the benefits of the cloud along with 100% data privacy. SpiderOak is available with onsite deployment and private servers or outsourced deployment through a private and secured public cloud server, so that users can tailor the service to fit their needs.

SpiderOak protects sensitive user data with 256-bit AES encryption so that photos, files, and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts and network devices can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices because SpiderOak never hosts any plaintext data. This way, even if programs like NSA’s PRISM continue to stand unchallenged, people can rest easy knowing that their data is truly protected. SpiderOak’s cross-platform private cloud services are available for users on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing for full flexibility and mobile access



10 Responses to “Facebook Changes Privacy Setting for Teenagers”

  1. Jesse Martinez says:

    Facebook has always alarmed me concerning the things underage kids post. I have seen some wild things on my nephew’s account, wild parties, provocative clothing, all by underage kids. Now they can share this with the world? They apparently do not need any sort of permission. Is this right?

  2. Ben says:

    Privacy will continue to be a major political issue for many years to come. Simply put: I don’t trust Facebook to keep personal data private. As the article states, allowing teens to post publicly is just another way for Facebook to make a profit by selling data to third party advertisers. If you couple this with the fact that government agencies like the NSA are collecting data on everyone, the future looks bleak for those wishing to maintain some modicum of private life. I think teenagers need to be very wary about over-sharing. Stupid teenager behavior-what mostly used to be just lesser transgressions-can now have repercussions into adulthood that can affect both educational and then later job prospects.

  3. Kyra Jackson says:

    This decision is only making our children and teens more vulnerable to online predators. There should be some time of boundaries set to protect children for adults being on their pages. This is opening the doors for internet stalking of children. Facebook should take on the responsibility to help us protect our children, instead of putting them in a situation to be more at risk.

  4. kent stevenson says:

    I don’t think it is Facebook’s job to make sure my teenager does not overshare. Parents need to step up and parent. Teach your kids what is appropriate to post and if they can’t handle that then take away their Facebook page.

  5. Kyra says:

    It is completely inappropriate and irresponsible for Facebook to allow under aged children to publicly post any private details about themselves. They are opening the already cracked door of online predation and predatory stalking. Facebook should have to take some kind of accountability for their account holders. They are allowing videos of executions and now this. What’s next?

  6. Johnny says:

    Facebook loosening their grip on their security and restrictions sounds like one of the worst decisions possible. Without a doubt, it sounds like it’d be more enjoyable, but we’ve seen the path of Myspace previously and how teens were harassed online and offline, and how personal data has a nasty way of finding its way onto the internet. They’re young and they don’t understand the repercussions of what it means to browse the internet, and Facebook relaxing just makes it easier for them to make a mistake. I thought protecting our youth and making sure they weren’t the prey of predators online would be an industry standard, Facebook. So disappointed…

  7. BC says:

    Unfortunately, Facebook uses its users for a great amount of advertising. Knowing that teenagers are fond of ”showing off” their new acquired items (cellphones, clothes, jewelery), it can only benefit them (Facebook) making these things public. Us, adults, can control our privacy a lot more on these social networks. We are more self conscious of the things we post, who we add as friends, and how many people we are willing to let in our lives virtually. For teenagers, it’s all about the amount of friends you have added and who went to the craziest party on the weekend. It is up to the parents to control their children, not a social network.

  8. Regina says:

    I’m very upset. I do not think kids should be allowed on Facebook at all. The information is just too accessible. Besides, not all kids tell the truth that they are 13-17. I caught my niece with a profile saying she was 18. they have social networking that caters to children. I don’t agree with most of Facebook’s privacy policies. They’ve even been sued for sharing people’s information. Parents have to monitor, monitor, monitor. The SAFEST bet is no Facebook.

  9. Sarah says:

    I dislike the idea of Facebook allowing children 13-17 to now publicly share their profiles. I understand that Facebook is doing this to appeal to younger generations and gain more users, as it seems Facebook is slowly becoming a dying fad, but to risk the privacy of underage children and expose them to certain things is wrong. While covering up school and contact information will keep some people away, there are still many ways an adult with bad intentions will now be able to more easily find them. Someone can very easily make up a fake profile appealing to someone underage, engage in conversation with them, show fake pictures to them, and then possibly ask to meet up with them. As 13-17 year old’s will now be view-able by members of all ages if they wish, that also leaves open the option for parental bullying. Parents of other children will more easily be able to contact those children. In my opinion this will just open up a whole new can of issues when it comes to Facebook privacy issues. A child at 13, 14, even 17 doesn’t always make the right or most educated decision. This is one that should only be left up to adults. It seems the majority of people have been fighting to get more privacy from Facebook as they keep exposing more but Facebook seems to be targeting younger crowds now.

  10. David Brady says:

    Web sites like facebook have become the guy in the sedan with a puppy that folks my age dealt with growing up. The big difference is that we could see the guy in the sedan as he was, he could not claim to be a 15 year old kid. By allowing kids greater freedom face book, they are exposed exponentially to potential harm. The lack of humility that great exposure teaches is another problem. many people feel it is important for the world to hear your view on each and every subject, when in reality, it really does not matter except to folks who know you. Cyberspace is greatly confused with the real world, much to the detriment of society. There is no truth meter that pops up with every new friend or follower. Limiting teen exposure would keep them safer and hopefully spur more face to face interaction with folks they really know.

Leave a Reply