Yesterday Facebook announced it will allow users 13 – 17 to post publicly and gain followers of their profiles. Users were previously only allowed to post to friends, friends of friends, or specialized groups, but now can choose to post publicly. The change will take effect immediately.
Facebook discussed the change in settings in a blog post:
“Teens are among the savviest people using of social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard. While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social media services.”
Teens will have to manually change the setting on their post to “public” before they can share. They also have the capability to gain followers by changing their privacy settings. This move would allow non-friends to read public posts.
The change in policy will not affect previous posts, and users are required to change settings manually should they wish to opt-in to the new options. Allowing teens to share publicly and gain followers mimics other social media sites like Twitter and Instagram.
While the new policy is only 24 hours old, it opens the door for teens to expand their market share yet again. Facebook metrics consistently show businesses enjoy a greater conversion rate when their products are personally endorsed. The opportunity to have teens post about a brand, and reach an even greater audience than before, means companies have the potential to increase sales.
The overall impact of the policy change will have to be seen, but at the very least, it gives brands another inch in the powerful territory of teen marketing.