If you have a teenager (13-17) who's on Facebook, you'll probably want to listen up.
Facebook is making some changes to what they call the "teen experience," and it amounts to a couple significant alterations in teenagers' audience on the network.
Before today, those listed as under the age of 18 (the ones who haven't lied and said they were older) were unable to share anything using the "public" setting. For teens, the only options were "friends," "friends of friends," "custom," and "only me." That's all changing. Now, teens can share publicly on Facebook. That means that if they chose to do so, anything the say and any photos they post can be seen by anyone - and more importantly, now becomes searchable in Graph Search.
"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," says Facebook. "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."
To post publicly, teens are going to have to explicitly select the public option. Facebook is defaulting all new teen accounts to only post to "friends," which is actually a more private default than what Facebook has previously set. Before today, all posts defaulted to be shared with "friends of friends."
Although Facebook is letting teens post publicly now, they're not doing it without quite a bit of warning. When a teen chooses to make one of their statuses or photos public, they'll see a warning message that reads...
"Did you know that public posts can be seen by anyone, not just people you know? You and any friends you tag could end up getting friend requests and messages from people you don't know personally"
Even if they ignore it and continue to post publicly, Facebook will pester them again the next time they post a status with a message telling them that "public" really means public. It's not likely to assuage the concerns of privacy hawks and some parents, but hey, it's not like Facebook is being deceptive here.
Still, with Facebook recently killing off an old privacy setting that lets you (kind of) hide from search and also opening up Graph Search to include all of you past statuses, comments, and check-ins - this will likely be seen as a very rotten cherry on the where the hell did all my privacy go sundae.
Images via Facebook