Skip to main content

Facebook isn’t like a regular mom, it’s a cool mom: Teens now have the option to post publicly

facebook lets teens make public posts nc nt 130522 16x9 992

Facebook just made a decision that will likely be a cause of consternation at PTAs all over: The social network now allows teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 to post publicly.

Before this change, people whose ages were listed under 18 were only allowed to share content with people within their network. This limitation was meant as a safety measure, but Facebook believes teens can figure out what’s good to post publicly themselves. “Teens are among the savviest people using of social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an announcement on Wednesday.

Related Videos
fb teens

The default option will remain “Friends,” and if a user under 18 chooses to change it to “Public,” they will receive two messages explaining who can see it. 

fb teens post

While this may raise eyebrows for parents of teenagers, it’s easy to list yourself as older than you actually are on Facebook, so teens who really wanted to make public posts were likely already doing so — the age gate is not enforced by any birth certificate checking or ID verification, after all. This change may result in teens posting poorly thought-out content choices for all the world to see instead of just their friends, but they could’ve done that anyways on a variety of other platforms. Twitter has never had an age gate preventing teenagers from posting publicly, and it’s becoming more popular for teens than Facebook. And might I argue that Snapchat, despite its ephemeral scheme, has led to more knowledge of NSFW, NSFL teenage behavior than perhaps any other app. If a teenager is going to post something done publicly, they’ve had plenty of places to – though you could argue giving them another just submits to the problem in lieu of fighting it.

This new policy may be an attempt by Facebook to regain teen loyalty, and give marketers more access to the coveted demographic. 

Facebook is on a mission to convince its users to make all of their information public, and this restriction removal is yet another step in that direction. The network recently updated its privacy policy to discontinue a setting that allows users to hide their names and basic information from the Facebook directory, so now all basic users can be looked up. This change isn’t as problematic because it gives teenagers the option to share information in a broad way, but as we mentioned it actually tightens the default privacy settings to “Friends” instead of “Friends of Friends.” That’s likely a move to ameliorate concerned parents, though, rather than an indication in a shift in policy toward more privacy overall. It may be treading lightly with teens, but don’t be fooled: Facebook wants everyone, including young users, to make their posts public.

Editors' Recommendations

Lying about your life on Facebook isn’t as fun as it sounds (I tried)
lying facebook will turn monster dont editorial

Call me naive, trusting, or worse, but the very notion of someone faking social network statuses to make themselves appear less of a pathetic loser never entered my mind. It turns out, if a video called What’s On Your Mind is accurate, it goes on a lot, and it’s more depressing than a double bill of Requiem for a Dream and The Road. In it, we see a guy saddened by his life, and crushed by some unfortunate events. To deal with it, he posts embellished updates on Facebook, and becomes addicted to Likes.
I joined liars anonymous, and got to work creating a completely fabricated Facebook post.
It certainly made me examine my own feed for any evidence of deception. My own Facebook seemed like a veritable sanctuary of truth prior to seeing the video, because everyone I’m friends with is exactly that: a friend. While I’m confident none of the people on my Facebook page lie about their lives online (potentially awkward situation avoided), the rest of the world doesn’t seem to be so honest.
I’m not someone who believes everything I read online, and like any social media user, I’m used to seeing everything, good and bad, being shared. I realize not everything on social media is absolute fact, but a complete lie seemed to go too far in the opposite direction. Why would anyone fib about what they’re doing? What is there to gain? A Like? My attention, jealousy, or admiration?
Facebook Envy is to blame, apparently
Apparently, such hideous behavior could be driven by something called Facebook Envy. This is a condition where the terminally unsatisfied browse through their friends’ pages and see vastly superior lives, before getting down to planning a one-way trip to the gallows. A study conducted last year showed an astonishing one in three people suffered from Facebook Envy, and that it often led to posting overblown boasts about their own lives.
Because one in three Facebook users aren’t throwing themselves off a cliff every day, there has to be something to this whole "embellished status update" thing. To find out what the attraction is, I joined liars anonymous, and got to work creating a completely fabricated Facebook post. I went with an image of a car I couldn’t possibly afford, and suggested it was my new toy. After a couple of minutes, I got a Like. Then more came through.

Even though I was duping my friends, there was an initial rush of adrenalin as my experiment worked in the way I expected -- big surprise, people were happy to see a really positive post -- but I quickly began to feel really terrible. This was a complete lie, celebrated by people I like and admire, and one which could be exposed quite easily. My intention was always to explain, but if I had posted the picture solely to make myself feel better, I can’t see how it would have done so. Unless, that is, I was an utter monster.
A desire to remove the picture swept over me, but I forced myself to leave it up overnight and see what happened. Then I’d come clean. Lying on Facebook was turning out to far more harrowing than expected.
Lying is bad, mmmkay?
Come the morning, something even worse had happened. A comment saying “Post more pics!” appeared. The anguish was almost overwhelming. This was impossible, the car wasn’t mine, and I photographed it in a Starbucks’ car park; but that didn’t stop me from momentarily wishing I could share more, and that the car really was parked outside. While different, this dissatisfaction with my own life wasn’t all that preferable to feeling like a lying bastard.

Read more
Facebook isn’t a teenage wasteland anymore, study says
facebook buy and sell items news mobile

Not too long ago, predictions for Facebook's future were dire. Research pointed out that the social network isn't as popular with teens and college students nowadays as it was before. Soon after, reports about Facebook's impending demise spread like wildfire, as claims that Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, and other social platforms were taking the big blue app's place among teens.
Now, new research from Forrester Research indicates that there is more to the situation than meets the eye. Facebook may have lost a few percentage points, but it's still the most popular social network, by far. The firm even discovered that teens still use Facebook more often than they check any other messaging app or social network.
It turns out that when Forrester Research asked 4,517 U.S. teens aged 12 to 17 how often they use sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr, Facebook came out in front of the pack. The firm asked the teens to say whether they check the sites “about once a day,” “at least a few times each day,” or “all the time.”
Eight out of 10 teens said that they check Facebook at least once a month and almost a third of them said they're on Facebook "all the time." The social network is also the most popular of the sites listed in the survey by far, with 3/4 of teens using Facebook. In contrast, only half as many teens use Pintrest, Tumblr, and Snapchat. The firm also said that more teens use Facebook than WhatsApp and Instagram combined.
The teens also said that they use Facebook more now than they did a year ago, so it would seem that things are looking up for Facebook, at least when it comes to keeping the young ones onboard.
However, Instagram was the second-most frequently used social network among teens. Meanwhile, Snapchat came in third place, a fact that could mean bad news for Facebook's Messenger and new Slingshot app. Nonetheless, it's clear that the social network is still going strong.

Read more
Facebook offers ‘Privacy Checkup,’ changes your posts so they aren’t public
Facebook Privacy Checkup

Since when is Facebook concerned about user privacy? Facebook has a very bad reputation when it comes to user privacy, but now it seems that the social network is starting to take the criticism to heart. On Thursday, Facebook introduced several new privacy features, including a change to default posting settings and the addition of a "Privacy Checkup."
Facebook added the ability to post publicly back in 2009. Unbeknownst to most users, the default posting setting was "Public." Now, Facebook has changed the default to "Friends Only," ensuring that no one accidentally shares posts with the general public anymore. Finally, Facebook is putting that choice back into the hands of each individual user. In fact, Facebook will encourage users to keep their posts just between friends with little pop up windows that will prompt users to make the choice.

The icon that lets you choose between making a post viewable by the public or your just friends used to be hidden at the bottom of the screen as a small image. Now, in the mobile app, that selector has been moved to the top of the post and clearly says "Friends" or "Public," letting you know the choice is in your hands - not Facebook's. The selector is also more clearly marked on the Web version of Facebook. These new selectors will start rolling out in the coming weeks for testing. 
In addition to the new selector tools and changed default setting, Facebook has also added a "Privacy Checkup" feature, which allows users to see what information apps are using and sharing from your account. It also shows you with whom you are sharing posts. Facebook will also soon add the new "Anonymous Login" feature that was announced at the F8 developer conference. The new feature will allow users to log into apps anonymously, so that they can test them out before they commit to sharing their personal Facebook data. 

Read more