Facebook Goes Public with Teenagers

| Posted on | Facebook

Facebook has never been all that mature, but you could at least be sure you weren’t going to run into any little kids that you didn’t have at least a passing relationship too. In fact, for the most part, kids under 17 have been kept off the social network through a combination of parenting and Facebook policies. Those days are over now though. As of today, Facebook is removing the privacy settings that previously kept kids between the ages of 13 and 17 from contacting anyone but their immediate social circles. What will this mean for the social network and your social media marketing? Let’s take a look.

To start, let’s look at the details. Previously, the 13-17 year old group could only contact friends or friends of friends. Now, their privacy policy will default to “friends only,” but it can be changed to the most liberal, adult settings at the discretion of the user, no matter what their age.

Facebook claims they will protect teens by popping up the occasional reminders about their privacy settings, but how effective that really is remains to be seen.

As far as marketing, this is a good move on Facebook’s part. It will likely attract new, more active users, as well as make previous underage users increase their activity. This means a new, large pool of users for marketers to target, and we mean that literally. Using Facebook’s ad targeting system with this new privacy policy means that advertisers can specifically target and interact with users in the 13 to 17 year old age group like never before. Targeting kids has always been big business, especially for certain verticals (toys and sugar cereals) so Facebook can expect an influx of new advertising dollars to the system.

How kids fare with this new privacy policy remains to be seen, but we hope they stay smart and use the optional Facebook privacy settings to their full effect.

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