Facebook Ups Teen Risk, Opens Teen Sharing to All

In the early days of Facebook, the social network did not even allow younger teenagers to join the site. Although that quickly changed and Facebook officially allows 13-year-old to join, its privacy policy has been strict regarding young teenagers, especially when it comes to sharing content.

Underage users will now be able to share their content publicly due to coming Facebook privacy policy changes which will remove some restrictions from one of its largest age groups. Analysts already suspect that the change is due to Facebook's desire to control the teen market, instead of allowing it to flock toward other social networks.

No More 'Friends of Friends' Restriction

Out of all the changes being made to Facebook's privacy policy, perhaps the most important is the removal of the "friends of friends" restriction on 13- to 17-year-olds. Prior to the update, young teens could share content to friends of friends, but not the general public.

"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," Facebook said on its site. "While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social-media services."

It is true that most Facebook users do not chose to share their content publicly, but just as a 30-year-old may have something useful to share with a wider audience, so may a 16-year-old. While there are definitely valid privacy concerns regarding young teenagers sharing content to a large audience, social networks such as Twitter already allow for it.

Key Market

Various studies from Pew Internet Research and others have repeatedly shown that the 13-17 age group is one of the most important for social networks. While the...

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