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Facebook's new privacy setting lets teens share publicly

The giant social network will now let teenagers share their posts with anyone, but will set the default to "friends" only for new users.

Facebook is now defaulting new teen users to a privacy setting of "friends," instead of "friends of friends."

Facebook said Wednesday that teens can share their posts publicly for the first time, but the default privacy setting for new users will limit their sharing to friends only.

"While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social media services," reads a press release from Facebook.

Until now, Facebook said, teens aged 13 to 17 joining the service defaulted to being able to share information -- status updates, photos, videos, and the like -- with anybody in their extended network including friends and "friends of friends." But in a bid, perhaps, to assuage concerned parents, the giant social network is ratcheting the default for new users back to just "friends."

To be sure, Facebook will allow those teens to change their privacy settings to anything they want. But to make sure that the users understand what sharing publicly means, they will get a reminder if they choose a public sharing setting that their posts can be seen by anyone, not just people they know.

If teens want to change their privacy setting to "public," they'll get a reminder that what they share can be seen by everybody. Facebook

Privacy, or the lack of privacy, has long been a touchy subject for Facebook. Users often bash the social network for its ever-changing and often complicated privacy settings. And despite the impression that teens are carefree with their online identities, a recent report showed that they are definitely concerned about their privacy on Facebook.

CNET's Donna Tam contributed to this report.

Update, 4:57 p.m. PT: Added more details.