Facebook Partners with Attorneys General on Teen Online Safety Program

In recent years, parents of teenagers have had to add digital safety to the long list of potential dangers keeping them awake at night. From stolen identities to cyberbullying, the online world can be a very dangerous one. To help equip parents and their kids to better navigate that world safely, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), in collaboration with Facebook, launched a consumer education program “to provide teens and their parents with tools and tips to manage their privacy and visibility both on Facebook and more broadly on the Internet”.

Leading the campaign is Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, who announced the program by saying, “Teenagers and adults should know there are tools to help protect their online privacy when they go on Facebook and other digital platforms. We hope this campaign will encourage consumers to closely manage their privacy and these tools and tips will help provide a safer online experience.”

Facebook Safety

The program will include PSAs (which will be specific to various states) as well as safety videos and a tip sheet from Facebook. Facebook has also created a new page called “Facebook Safety”, which offers further resources.

Perhaps Facebook seems an unlikely ally when it comes to privacy, but it does make sense. Facebook is good at letting people know about privacy tools that help them control their data, to an extent--for example, Facebook actually makes it pretty easy to block a terrible ex--while also mining user data and using it to target ads.

But there’s no reason for skepticism. It doesn’t matter what Facebook’s motivation is here; the fact of the matter is that Zuck and Co. are doing it, and it’s irrelevant if they were coerced into it or if it’s a publicity grab. Maybe there’s just some humanity over there in Menlo Park.