Facebook Almost Gets Privacy Right, But Only For Teenagers

Facebook has announced that 13-to-17 year olds who sign up for the service will now have their initial posts set to be visible only to 'friends' as the default. That's a sensible move, but why on earth isn't that the default setting for everyone who uses Facebook?

Facebook's previous default for teens was 'Friends of friends', but it will now impose the more limited setting. Teenagers can also now set their posts as 'public', but will see a reminder whenever they try and change the status of a post to 'Public', which you can see pictured above.

If Facebook was serious about privacy, the default option for everyone would be 'Friends' and there would be a reminder whenever you tried to post a 'Public' message from an individual account. However, since Facebook's main privacy commitment is to keep its settings hidden, change them frequently and opt you into services rather than out of them, I'm not holding my breath waiting for this to happen.

As a reminder, to ensure your own posts aren't viewable by the wider public, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Gear icon in the top-right corner and choose 'Privacy settings' from the drop-down menu.
  • Find 'Who can see your future posts?' (it should be at the top of the list) and click 'Edit'.
  • Change the setting to 'Friends'.

Facebook Newsroom


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