Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



New Facebook Privacy Policy Presents Opportunity for Marketers

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

Heralding more freedom and communication for young users, Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB  ) new privacy policy has changed the way it handles information shared by users aged 13 to 17.

What does this mean for businesses? With Facebook ad space and youth user information becoming a more prized commodity, companies can now collect data for advertisers and marketing purposes on each individual teen user.

Facebook describes this as "a new option to share more broadly."

In a statement describing the recent changes, the company writes, "Teens are among the savviest people using social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard. So, starting today, people aged 13 through 17 will also have the choice to post publicly on Facebook. 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."

More harm than good?

Yet, some believe this new openness makes youth users more vulnerable. In an email interview, Joy Spencer, project director for Digital Food Marketing and Youth Initiative with the Center for Digital Democracy, explained how Facebook may benefit financially from recent privacy changes, as well as how they might experience a public relations backlash.

"Facebook's recent changes result in the removal of important privacy safeguards that teens used to enjoy when using the platform," said Spencer. "The absence of a public posting option was designed to limit their online exposure and protect their personal data. That protection is now gone."

Spencer acknowledges business advantages from the privacy settings.

"Marketing and advertising companies will now have access to the public comments, likes, photos and other posts of teens," she said. "The more marketers know about a Facebook user, the more they can make their targeted ads personal and likely to go viral. Now marketers can gather more information about youth activities and preferences on Facebook in order to reach this group in a more in-depth manner than they could yesterday."

The business value for Facebook

Spencer sees this as potential money-making change for Facebook.

"Facebook will now be able to make money by offering marketers more data-enriched access to a lucrative and influential market: teens," said Spencer. 

The privacy changes could also lead to impulsive online shopping.

"Youth will now be vulnerable to some of the same privacy concerns that many adults have on the platform. This risk of broader exposure combined with the tendency of teens to be impulsive when online is problematic," said Spencer. "It does not give teens the room they need to make mistakes within a more forgiving Internet environment. At one time Facebook understood this and provided teens and parents with the tools to protect teen privacy in a manner that was appropriate for their needs. In the end these changes will result in more harm to teen privacy and expose them to more data collection and targeting from marketers. Facebook's aim is always to encourage its users toward more personal data exposure. These new changes reflect that they want to encourage this among teens."

Spencer acknowledged that Facebook's default posting of "friends" was a good starting point, but said more potential problems could result from the public option.

"While a default posting setting of 'friends' helps teens protect their privacy, they must do so in an environment with fewer safeguards,"  explained Spencer. "The introduction of the public posting option places a greater burden on teens and parents to be extra vigilant about their privacy settings." 

Competition among social networks vying for the youth market continues to heat up.

Other social networks, such as Tumblr, are being used more often then Facebook, with Twitter and Instagram also picking up steam among young users. The 13 to 17 age group is a favorite target for advertisers worldwide through social media.

The coming tech battle

The tech world has been thrown into chaos as the biggest titans invade one another's turf. At stake is the future of a trillion-dollar revolution: mobile. To find out which of these giants is set to rule the next decade, we've created a free report called "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" Inside, you'll find out which companies are set to dominate, and we'll give in-the-know investors an edge. To grab a copy of this report, simply click here -- it's free!

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2689473, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/25/2016 5:17:27 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 day ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,261.45 -131.01 -0.71%
S&P 500 2,164.69 -12.49 -0.57%
NASD 5,305.75 -33.78 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/23/2016 4:00 PM
FB $127.96 Down -2.12 -1.63%
Facebook CAPS Rating: ***