Facebook has just launched YouthPortal, an informational service that dispenses advice to young people utilizing its platform.
The section has been designed to provide information to younger users on a range of topics including data privacy, ad targeting, reporting content and account security.
It also provides tips on how young people can make the most from their social media experiences. It emphasizes the importance of “thinking before you speak,” being selective when accepting friend requests and only interacting with or sharing appropriate content.
In compliance with the Children’s Online Protection Act, Facebook only allows users aged 13 or over to use its platform. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed disapproval over this restriction in the past.
“That will be a fight we take on at some point,” said Zuckerberg in comments made to CNN in 2011.
“My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age. Because of the restrictions we haven’t even begun this learning process. If they’re lifted then we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger kids] are safe.”
The new section doesn’t appear to provide additional information that isn’t already available throughout Facebook’s website, however it appears more to be an attempt to curate existing information and publish it in a more user friendly and accessible format.
That said, it’s difficult to tell whether young people, who are already inundated with advice on how best to utilize online platforms, will pay any attention to it simply because it’s wrapped in a new design.
Despite this, the launch of the new section at least gives Facebook the opportunity to proclaim it’s “doing something” about privacy and content issues on its platform, even if it is just curating content from one place, sticking it in another and upgrading its design.
Beyond safety tips and general usage guidelines, the new section also offers blog content focused around social activism and making the most of the social platform.