How social media privacy settings could affect your future

In an effort to win back its teenage audience, Facebook made a major change last week to its privacy policy, The Huffington Post reports. Teenagers have been rapidly abandoning the social network in favor of competitors such as Instagram and Snapchat.

Now, 13- to 17-year-old Facebook users have the ability to post their comments and photos publicly. Prior to this change, teenagers were restricted to sharing their posts with friends and friends-of-friends in an effort to protect this young generation from predators.

While I can’t predict how these new privacy settings will affect Facebook’s business, I am certain the change could negatively impact this generation’s personal brand and with it, their future college and job prospects.

As Kelly Clay put it in her article for Forbes, the former privacy policy was “designed to protect teenagers not only from strangers, but also themselves.” As any social media strategist will tell you, it takes only a few strokes of a keyboard — or mobile device — to do some serious damage to one’s brand.

Kaplan Test Prep’s college admissions survey found that colleges are increasingly using social media such as Facebook (87 percent) and Twitter (76 percent) to recruit new students.

Additionally, of those admissions officers who Google applicants or visit their Facebook pages, 35 percent discovered something about an applicant that negatively impacted their application — a 218 percent increase over the previous year.