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County opposes Facebook privacy changes for young teens

The Fayette County Commission has expressed concern over a proposed change that would allow young teens using Facebook a chance to let all users view their posts, pictures and more.

Currently, Facebook users ages 13-17 are only allowed to share their material directly with friends or “friends of friends.” The change Facebook is planning would allow those young users to choose to share their content with all Facebook users, according to Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown.

The commission unanimously passed a resolution Oct. 24 opposing the changes.

“The problem we have is that it also opens the door for a lot of other things to happen with strangers allowed to look at your children’s activities,” Brown said. “We should all be very, very worried. As a board we decided somebody has to say something.”

Brown encouraged the audience to take to Facebook in opposition of the website’s privacy changes for young teenage users. He argued that it’s not a good idea for young teens to be allowed to share their personal information “with strangers and predators.”

Brown specifically cited the growing trend of cyber-bullying, citing the recent suicide of a girl in the United States who had been bullied online.

“Imagine when you take away those protections and what kind of door that’s going to open,” Brown said.

Brown said the commission hopes that other local governing bodies speak out on the matter, noting that the Atlanta Regional Commission, a 10-county coalition of local government representatives, would also be addressing the matter in the near future.



This is not a Facebook issue but a parenting issue. Just another example of people not wanting to take responsibility for what their kids do. You really believe these kids don't lie about their age when they get a Facebook account? If you don't like Facebook's policies then don't use it or don't let your kids use it.

There is nothing wrong about spreading the word, but your right, its a parenting issue.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

What control does the Fayette County Commission have over Facebook or even negligent parents?

Live free or die!

Commission has no control over facebook. While my kids and I don't tinker with social media, many do.

Maybe Sheriff Babb can do something similar to his Halloween post on predators and simply inform the citizens when he learns of something like this?

If you don't like what the BOC did, take it up with the Chairman--it was his resolution! Certainly not binding on anyone but it may play well with some citizens (not this one).

Steve Brown's picture

Our resolution did give Facebook credit for historically being a responsible player in the social networking arena.

Unlike Twitter where you can use pseudonyms and such instead of using your real name and photo on Facebook, strangers will have a lot more direct access to personal information regarding teens.

The bloggers are correct about parental responsibility, but that is getting more difficult when you do not know (and the child does not know) who is reviewing your child's Facebook page.

Facebook's changes are an attempt for more advertising revenue from those interested in the teen sector. It is my hope they can do this in a creative way that will not allow predators to look at our children's personal accounts.

Really Steve? Our water system is in dire straights, crime is on the rise, stormwater funding issues and you think the Fayette County Commissioners should be spending time on the new Facebook privacy changes. I'm sure Mark Zuckerberg is quivering in his boots. How about staying on task with the county's business.

Even though large steps are already in place to remedy the water system, crime is NOT on the rise in our county, and stormwater fees are being voted on today, I agree that the FC Commissioners are wasting time voting on issues over which they have no control. I guess they could also weigh in on global hunger, Islamic radicals, and thermonuclear Pakistan. These votes would have as much influence as their Facebook initiative. Remember, this slate of "thoughtful" commissioners comes to you with the full endorsement of the local tea party.

Truth is stranger than fiction.

PTC Observer's picture

is not on the rise? Really? Over what period of time are you measuring your rate of change? Link please?

As you can see, there is no trend toward higher crime, but rather an up and down incidence rate that does not appear to be statistically significant. (I did not have enough data to make a firm statistical analysis of variance.)


I just wish our bordering Counties were trending the same way, ALL of them....

They, sadly, are not.

PTC Observer's picture

Thanks for this but these data are not comparable as they are different years and they are not current. Some of the data is two years old so trends can't be determined with any certainty as they don't go back far enough. We can, based on our own experiences over time, sense that there are changes in this area. I don't know how long you have lived in the area but if you've lived here over the last 15 to 20 years IMHO there has been a significant change.

The real issue is not how much it has changed but to recognize that it has and prepare to crush crime's emergence. At he moment I think the law enforcement resources are doing a pretty good job. I have supported and continue to support a SPLOST specifically to bolster our law enforcement resources including our jail and court system. We simply need to send a message to those that commit crimes in Fayette, they will be caught and receive quick justice if they are found guilty.

We don't seem to have any elected officials that will pick up the cause for this initiative. Foresight is part of leadership.

There is an article in today's print edition of the Citizen (page A9)from Sheriff Babb's report on 911 calls that states, "In nearly all categories the number of calls relating to potential crimes remained relatively stable between the two reporting periods [the first part of 2012 and the first part of 2013]." He notes that family violence complaints are up this year.

I have lived in Fayette County for 25 years and have seen no upturn whatsoever in the crime rates here per capita. The county has doubled in size, but the crime rates (which are very low) have not increased exponentially beyond the growth rate. I can find no evidence whatsoever suggesting that the real crime rate in this county shows any increased trend for decades. Perception of crime appears to increase as a function of personal bias and a 24 hour news cycle. Indeed, overall violent crime in the United States has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s, but many feel less safe.

I believe that Sheriff Babb and District Attorney, Scott Ballard are performing admirably. A law enforcement SPLOST would be superfluous since there is no crisis.

PTC Observer's picture

Thanks for that input and logic, seems reasonable to me. Needless to say I disagree with your conclusions but we all see things differently I suppose.

I didn't say there was a "crisis", I suggest that we invest in law enforcement resources to avoid a take over of this county by thugs. It's sort of like the old saying about the difference between a depression and a recession. A recession is where your neighbor loses his job and a depression is when you lose your job. Well it's kind of like that with crime too. It's not a crime "crisis" until you are a victim of it.

Keep up the great postings here STF, even if I don't happen to agree with you. ;-)

Just as you state, I appreciate thoughtful postings from all quarters, and I tend to learn more from those who hold opinions that differ somewhat from mine. I also invite you to keep up your postings since they are reasoned (regardless of those times I reason differently).

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