Facebook has loosened its privacy rules for teenagers as a debate swirls over online threats to children from bullies and predators.
The move, announced on Wednesday, allows teenagers to post status updates, videos and images that can be seen by anyone, not just their friends or people who know their friends.
While Facebook described the change as giving teenagers, ages 13 to 17, more choice, big money is at stake for the company and its advertisers. Marketers are keen to reach impressionable young consumers, and the more public information they have about those users, the better they are able to target their pitches.
“They’re hitting kids from a neurological weak spot. Kids don’t have the same kind of impulse control that adults do,” said Emily Bazelon, a journalist and author of the book “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy.”
Facebook said numerous other sites and mobile apps, from big players like Twitter and Instagram to lesser-known ones like ask.fm and Kik, allowed teenagers to express themselves publicly.
“Across the Web, teens can have a very public voice on those services, and it would be a shame if they could not do that on Facebook,” Nicky Jackson Colaco, Facebook’s manager of privacy and public policy, said in a phone interview. Read more at the New York Times.