Facebook, state attorneys general team up for teen privacy PSAs


Although Facebook and government agencies don't always see eye to eye, several state attorneys general are teaming up with the social network on new privacy education resources.

Starting this Tuesday, 19 state attorneys general will launch “public service announcements” on their websites, with the goal of educating teens about Facebook privacy. Facebook will also promote these announcements on its own safety page and elsewhere.

The campaign will include an “Ask the Safety Team” video series that answers frequently-asked privacy questions, and a “What You Can Do to Control Your Information” tip sheet. Individual states will distribute public service announcements by their respective attorneys general and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

The question is whether teens will actually take notice, given that most of them probably won't visit Facebook's safety page or their state attorney general's website on their own.

Facebook told ABC News that parents, teens, and families in participating states will see advertisements for the PSAs on the social network itself. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who helped lead the campaign, said he hopes parents will look up the information on their own.

The education campaign follows the launch of significant privacy changes at Facebook last December. Users can now quickly control who sees what through a “Privacy Shortcuts” button on the top-right corner of the screen. There's also an improved activity log for controlling individual posts, and pop-up messages that explain what happens as you make privacy-related changes.

Facebook has also been more careful about revealing more user data without permission. New features like Graph Search and Facebook Home respect users' existing privacy settings—although they do bring up some unique privacy concerns of their own.

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