Posts Tagged ‘Federal Trade Commission’

Facebook Doesn’t Seem to Care About Kids

June 5, 2012

It seems as though Facebook cares more about indoctrinating more young lemmings onto their database than protecting the safety and wellbeing of our children. I have stated before my firm belief that children under 13 do not have the maturity to warrant the privilege of having a Facebook page.

You may argue that many 13 year-olds defy that rule and go and get one anyway. This is unfortunate, and something their parents ought to take an interest in, but at least in this instance there are laws that are being broken. It would be decidedly worse if the age requirement rule was abandoned altogether.

A new proposal to allow children under the age of 13 to have legal access to Facebook is the first step in a concerted effort to rescinding these important regulations:

Facebook Inc. is developing technology that would allow children younger than 13 years old to use the social-networking site under parental supervision, a step that could help the company tap a new pool of users for revenue but also inflame privacy concerns.

Mechanisms being tested include connecting children’s accounts to their parents’ and controls that would allow parents to decide whom their kids can “friend” and what applications they can use, people who have spoken with Facebook executives about the technology said. The under-13 features could enable Facebook and its partners to charge parents for games and other entertainment accessed by their children, the people said.

Facebook currently bans users under 13. But many kids lie about their ages to get accounts, putting the company in an awkward position regarding a federal law that requires sites to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal data from children.

Any attempt to give younger kids access to the site would be extraordinarily sensitive, given regulators’ already heightened concerns about how Facebook protects user privacy. But Facebook, concerned that it faces reputational and regulatory risks from children already using the service despite its rules, believes it has little choice but to look into ways of establishing controls that could formalize their presence on the site, people familiar with the matter said.

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