Facebook is now allowing 13- to 17-year-olds to share photos, updates and comments with the general public.
Previously, the teens only shared their statuses with friends and friends of friends, but the new rules will allow anyone to see the teens’ statuses and the settings will allow anyone to follow the posts. Facebook will now ask the teens whether they want the post to go to just their friends.
Until now, Facebook had prevented teens from posting beyond their friends, while other social networks, including Twitter and Tumblr allows them to post publicly.
A recent Pew study found that 94% of teens are on Facebook, but there is also “waning enthusiasm” for the social network because “of the presence of adults and drama,” reported CNN.
“Up until today, for people aged 13 through 17, the initial audience of their first post on Facebook was set to 'Friends of Friends' – with the option to change it.
“Going forward, when people aged 13 through 17 sign up for an account on Facebook, the initial audience of their first post will be set to a narrower audience of ‘Friends.’
“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.
“In addition, teens will be able to turn on Follow so that their public posts can be seen in people's News Feeds. As always, followers can only see posts they are in the audience for.
“These changes are designed to improve the experience for teens on Facebook. As part of this, we are also looking at ways to improve the way teens use messages and connect with people they may know.
“We take the safety of teens very seriously, so they will see an extra reminder before they can share publicly."