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Teens get new privacy settings on Facebook

Staying out past midnight. Getting your first car. Swearing in front of your parents and they don’t threaten grounding because they understand your anger.

New freedoms are pretty sweet.

Teens ages 13-17 can now add ‘adding status updates publicly on Facebook’ to their ever-growing list of things they can’t wait to try.

The company announced today that teens will get new privacy settings on Facebook. They can now make any post public. In the past, they were limited to only posting to ‘friends of friends’ or their immediate ‘friends’. The update also means tens will be able to share personal images with the world.


Teenagers privacy facebook

New notices for privacy settings (image: Facebook)


Despite a heated privacy debate raging in America, Facebook believes teens are ready:

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.

Balancing the impact?

With the announcement of the new freedoms for teens, Facebook also went in a different direction with another update. When teens aged 13 through 17 sign up for an account on Facebook, their first post will be set to a narrower audience of “Friends.” The prior setting was”Friends of Friends’ by default.

Facebook says their recent update aligns with other social media services when it comes to the teenage user base.

Why less privacy? Why now?

Most teens (I say most), are aware of social media’s reach. And more than half have taken precautions. This Pew Internet study showed that 60 percent of teenage Facebook users have set their profiles to “private”. That means only their friends can see what they’re posting.

Advertisers clamor for more

With freedom, comes responsibility… and a target on your head by advertisers. Teens posting publicly means marketers can use their data in advertising.

Teens are impressionable. Advertisers will be able to target teens specifically with their advertisements. But most 13-17 years won’t be yanking out the credit card.

Mom and Dad will have to handle that when they come calling.

What do you think about Facebook’s move to lift this layer of privacy for teenage users? Leave a comment and join the discussion.

Additional resources: 
To learn more about teens and privacy, visit the Help Center.
To learn more about Safety on Facebook, go to

Image: Getty

Josh Benson

Josh Benson

Josh is the Editor of and supreme geek to boot. He spends much of his time learning new software, coding languages, gadgets and more. He loves helping people figure out tech problems - big or small. Josh is a former television news anchor and tech reporter. He spends his days developing websites and producing videos.

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