(NEWS CENTER) - Facebook has been made a major change that all parents will want to know about. They are allowing kids to be more public in their posts.
Users between the ages of 13 through 17 now have the choice to post publicly on Facebook. Previously, when kids posted publicly, it just meant the furthest audience that would see those posts would be friends of their friends. NOW if they set a status, picture, movie, anything they post set to public... Anyone can now see these posts... This also include kids the option to allow followers. Followers don't have to send friend requests, they just subscribe to you and can see anything you post as public.
They say it's to improve the experience for kids, but also say in their blog it's to stay relevant, and to compete with other social networks. Facebook has seen kids drop off in the last couple of years. They're taking to other social networks like Tumblr and Instagram in addition to more app based networks. These other networks have no restrictions. A person can either be public or private -- most are public.
For most adults users, it's how we post now. When kids post a status or a picture, it will always be at friends, kids now have the option to switch it to public. Facebook will then pop up with a number of warnings to younger users explain what this means and then just before making the post, they will be asked one more time if they really want to make it public.
One other change worth noting, right now we all have the option to opt-out of our Facebook profiles from appearing in a search engine, that option is going away. So just as kids should be more aware of who they are posting to now, so should all of us.
Be more mindful of the audience when you post. My advice is always post to friends only, unless you have a specific reason to make a post public. And as always, be aware of who you are "friending." Only friend people who you actually know.
And finally a reminder about a Facebook scam. Back in February, I reported on a Facebook status messages that had been going around that called graph search -- graph app and was very misleading about what it would do... It's recently re-surfaced. It asks folks to click on a bunch of stuff to change their settings. We've re-posted that story to clarify why it is a scam and what folks should do,but as usually... If someone asks you to copy and paste something into your status -- it's usually false. Our story from earlier this year: http://www.wcsh6.com/news/article/234159/108/Facebook-Graph-App-status-is-false
More resources here:
Facebook search: http://mashable.com/2013/10/10/facebook-privacy-settings-search/