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Markey Concerned About New Facebook Policy For Teens

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is concerned about Facebook's new privacy policy change on teen users.

Facebook advertised its decision Wednesday to allow teens 13-17 to start sharing their info publicly and to have their posts followed on news feeds as giving them the same choices as other social media sites

Facebook said teens were among the "savviest" users of social media.

Facebook also changed its default setting for teens so that they start out with more privacy, sharing only with "friends" rather than "friends of friends," which had been the initial setting for 13-17.

"While I am pleased that the new initial privacy choice for Facebook's teen users offers more protection than the previous default setting, the addition of an option to share all information publicly raises serious concerns for a vulnerable and impressionable age group that deserves additional safeguards," Markey said in an e-mailed statement to B&C/Multi. "Children and young teens are especially vulnerable to the dangers that may lurk in the online environment. Now is the time we put children's privacy laws on the books, including an 'eraser button' tool for parents and children so that what kids say online does not come back to haunt them when they apply for college or jobs."

Markey has been pushing in the other direction, seeking more online privacy protections for teens along the lines of Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) protections for kids 12 and under — he was one of the driving forces behind that act.