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Facebook changes privacy policy for teenagers

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has loosened its privacy rules for teenagers as a rising debate swirls over online threats to children from online bullies and sexual predators.

The move, announced Wednesday, allows teenagers to post status updates, videos, and images that can be seen by anyone, not just their friends or people who know their friends.

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While Facebook described the change as giving teenagers more choice, big money is at stake for the social network and its advertisers. Marketers are keen to reach young consumers, and the more public information they have about those users, the better they are able to target their pitches.

But that interaction with advertisers now includes youths who are growing up in a world of social media and, often, learning the hard way that it can be full of risks. Parents, too, are trying to help their children navigate the online world.

Facebook also said it had made the change to let socially active teenagers, people the service has often called its savviest users, reach a wider audience the way they can on blogs.

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