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Who Profits from Facebook's New Privacy Settings for Teens?

by Jane Susskind, published

Facebook announced Wednesday that it will yet again be updating its privacy settings, opening up the option to post publicly to teenagers aged 13-17:

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. 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.
Facebook's manager of privacy and public policy Nicky Jackson Colaco says the move is an attempt to give teens a "public voice" on the Internet. The types of users Facebook hopes to empower are socially active teens, like musicians and humanitarian activists, the New York Times


Critics are skeptical of Facebook's "do-good" intentions, however, with Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy speaking out.

"It’s all about monetization and being where the public dialogue is,” he said. “To the extent that Facebook encourages people to put everything out there, it’s incredibly attractive to Facebook’s advertisers.”

The downside? Teenagers do not always know the risks associated with publicly posting on social networks and often times lack impulse control.

So who profits from Facebook's new privacy settings? Is it the humanitarian activist teen who now has access to a wider audience to spread their work and ask for support online, or is it the social media giant, who now gets to sell everything they know about you to advertising companies?

Related: Your Facebook Profile is No Longer Private From Search

Photo Credit: Mashable, on Social Media Marketing Univeristy

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