Facebook Graph Search

Childnet has produced a guide about Facebook Graph Search. It includes 3 top tips to help people check what appears about them in a Graph Search: http://www.childnet.com/ufiles/Graph-Search-Privacy.pdf.

Facebook announced that they are beginning to roll out the new Graph Search feature in the UK.

It is worth being aware that if someone has tagged you in a photo and their privacy settings are set to ‘Public’, then this photo may appear to someone who is not your friend if they searched for “Photos of [your name]”. This content would have been difficult for ‘non-friends’ to find previously, so this is really worth checking. The steps for checking this content is in tip 2 in the guide.

Facebook makes changes to privacy settings for teens

Facebook has introduced some changes to how teens use the service, including:

  • When 13-17 year olds join Facebook now, their initial privacy setting will be to share with ‘Friends’ instead of ‘Friends of Friends’, which it was previously.
  • Facebook now makes it possible for 13-17 year olds to post publicly on Facebook for status updates, photos, check-ins and other content. Teens will also be able to opt-in to the ‘Follow’ feature. Previously, teens could not make public posts. Facebook rationale is to enable teens to have a voice on the platform – to share their views and opinions.
  • Facebook has introduced inline reminders – so when a teen chooses to post publicly, they will see a reminder that the post can be seen by anyone and an option to change the sharing option for the post.

More information can be found on Facebook’s Help Centre

Primary Schools and Facebook

Despite Facebook’s popularity and ease of use, the terms and conditions of the social networking phenomena clearly state users must be over 13 years old to sign up for an account. This is due to the data protection laws in the U.S. regardless of the nature of the application. A common misconception is that this does not apply to the UK and that therefore it is acceptable for primary school children to be encouraged in its use.

The LGfL eSafety group would strongly advise London schools that this is not the case. The UK Safer Internet Centre (SWGfL) have very close working links with Facebook and at the Safer Internet Centre national eSafety briefings this year, the following advice was given:

  • It is known under 13s use Facebook and this is an on-going problem because the environment is not suitable for younger pupils. Continuing to support and educate young people is critical, but we should bear in mind the legalities of under 13s on Facebook.
  • Any under 13 signing up to Facebook does so with a falsified date of birth, which is, technically, fraud, though law enforcement would never be used deal with this problem.
  • Facebook has to comply with COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998). This means Facebook may not hold any details of young people under the age of 13 and they may not advertise to this group either. This legal restriction applies to Facebook regardless of where the child is signing up from (America or the rest of the world).
  • Conclusion: Facebook is for over 13s only.

13 to 18 year olds are treated as minors and have additional privacy aspects enforced. For further reading the UK safer Internet Centre has produced a useful guide to Facebook privacy settings which can be found here: http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/ufiles/Facebook%20Checklist1.pdf