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Facebook changes teenage privacy settings

Facebook has changed its privacy settings for teenagers, lifting the previous restrictions imposed upon those under 18-years-old.

Anyone aged between 13 and 17 will now be able to share their posts with anyone on the internet, after Facebook changed its privacy settings for teenagers.

Previously, teenagers’ posts could only be viewed by their friends or friends of friends, depending on their chosen privacy settings.

Now, they’ll be able to share their thoughts with a much wider audience, which Facebook feels will improve their experience of the site.

“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,” reads the Facebook announcement. “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.”

Teenagers can also now enable the “follow” function so that other people who aren’t connected directly to them can choose to have their posts pop up in their news feeds.

The automatic privacy settings for 13 – 17-year-olds will be Friends Only, but as soon as they choose to go public, Facebook will post a quick reminder that the content can be seen by anyone.

“One the one hand, you want to encourage kids to participate in the digital world, but they are not always very wise about how they do it,” said US professor Kathryn Montgomery, a specialist on the effect of the internet on children. “Teens tend to take more risks and don’t always understand the consequences of their behaviour.”

Facebook may be trying to lure more users of this age group to use the site, especially due to the increasing popularity of alternatives like Snapchat.

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