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.

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.

Smart Home

One crafty ‘Fortnite’ player figured how to make Alexa his in-game guide

How far would you go to create a more immersive gaming experience? One Reddit user answers that question by combining Fortnite with some creative smart home technology for better gaming sessions.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.
Mobile

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.