Facebook's controversial change for teenagers - FOX 13 News

Facebook's controversial change for teenagers

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Facebook is going to loosen its privacy rules for teenagers.  Wednesday's announcement allows teens to post updates, videos and images that can be seen by anyone, not just their friends or people who know their friends.

This move will allow marketers to reach those teens, and the more information they have about those users, the better they're able to target their pitches.

It's a good move for Facebook, but not necessarily for teens.  We're living in a world of social media and it's difficult to run away from a stupid or thoughtless comments.

Facebook also made another change, but this one is drawing praise.

By default, new accounts for teens will be setup to share information only with friends, not friends of friends as before.  The social networking site also says it plans to educate teens about the risk of sharing info.

In the end, Facebook wants to encourage more public sharing not less.  It's reducing privacy sharing while lawmakers are trying to impose more. 

It's a difficult and delicate balancing act, and if it's not done correctly, it could prove costly.  About 70 percent of children have suffered from some sort of online bullying.

Just this week, the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested two young girls charged with aggravated stalking.  The arrest is in connection with the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick. 

Detectives say she faced cyberbullying for more than a year.

Detectives also say a Facebook post led to the arrests.

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Rebecca Sedwick would have turned 13 years old this week. But detectives say she was bullied to death, taking her own life last month after more than a year of online torment. The two girls accused of doing it are now charged with felony aggravated stalking.

"Yea, see that's why bullying is such a bad thing. People, they commit suicide. We need to fix that." says 10th grader Cheney Corley.

Now some are worried that Facebook may be opening the door to bullies by loosening its privacy rules for some of its youngest users.

The Facebook change makes it easier for advertisers to reach them, but it could also make it easier for bullies.

"I could see more people getting involved in bullying and more people being able to comment back on like what rude things they're saying," says Sophia Meyer, a 10th grader at Plant High in Tampa.

"Sometimes, it's not a big deal and you brush it off. And sometimes it's like, you know, it does hurt," says Marissa Wilson, who is also a 10th grader at Plant High.

And kids say the bullying goes on more often than what many parents even realize.

"Some people take it, like it's online, they don't really mean it. But then I know people who've ended up cutting themselves and stuff because of it," says high schooler Jordan Brown.

Facebook says it plans to educate teens about the risk of sharing their posts. But already, some say they're not interested.

"I don't think the whole world needs to know what your doing. The people you accept as your friends, there's a reason you want them to see what you're doing and not the whole world." says Meyer.

Rebecca Sedwick would have turned 13 years old this week. But detectives say she was bullied to death, taking her own life last month after more than a year of online torment. The two girls accused of doing it are now charged with felony aggravated stalking.

 

"Yea, see that's why bullying is such a bad thing. People, they commit suicide. Yea, we need to fix that." says 10th grader, Cheney Corley.

 

Now some are worried that Facebook may be opening the door to bullies.. by loosening it's privacy rules for some of its youngest users. In a new change, teens who post updates, videos and pictures can now be seen by anyone, not just their friends or people who know their friends. The change makes it easier for advertisers to reach them. But it could also make it easier for bullies.

 

"I could see more people getting involved in bullying and more people being able to comment back on like what rude things they're saying." says Sophia Meyer, a 10th grader at Plant High in Tampa.

 

"Sometimes its like not a big deal and you brush it off and sometimes it's like, you know, it does hurt." says Marissa Wilson, who's also a 10th grader at Plant High.

 

And kids say the bullying goes on more often than what many parents even realize.

 

About 70 percent of children have suffered from some sort of online bullying.

 

"Some people take it, like it's online, they don't really mean it. But then I know people who've ended up cutting themselves and stuff because of it." says high schooler, Jordan Brown.

 

Facebook says it plans to educate teens about the risk of sharing their posts.

 

But already, some say they're not interested.

 

"I don't think the whole world needs to know what your doing. The people you accept as your friends, there's a reason you want them to see what you're doing and not the whole world." says Meyer.

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