Teenagers who create a Facebook account are more vulnerable to stalkers and cyber-crooks, as their posts and photos will be widely available if they donâ€™t carefully check their privacy settings, according to PC PRO.
The setting that previously limited who could see teenagersâ€™ online activities became more widely available. However, Facebook users can still manually set privacy options to avoid sharing information with the entire world.
“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,” Facebook representatives said. “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.”
But NGO representatives believe otherwise.
“Teens don’t necessarily have good judgment and to the extent that they make themselves visible to the wider public, there’s all kind of people – from predators to junk food marketers – who are surveilling Facebook for new kinds of targets,” Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the non-profit Center for Digital Democracy, told Reuters.
Chester claims Facebook is sacrificing the safety and privacy of teenagers for marketing purposes. The social network said teenagersâ€™ information will become public for a narrower group of people, and not for the total user base. Facebook will also notify users under 18 the first couple of times they try to post information, reminding them it can be seen by anyone.
Until now, teenagersâ€™ posts and pictures on Facebook could only be viewed by their friends and friends of friends. The social network has over 1.15 billion users worldwide.
This month, Facebook opened the new Graph Search, which allows everyone to search for old posts, status updates and for every comment, photo caption and check-in users ever posted on the platform since opening an account. HotFORSecurity warned users to carefully check their privacy settings to fight Graph Search abuse.