Posts Tagged ‘Mark Zuckerberg’

Facebook and Child Exploitation

June 19, 2012

The moment Facebook first made the sensible and responsible age requirement rules they have been trying to soften, if not repeal them. The age restriction guidelines exist for the safety and wellbeing of underaged children. Yet we are constantly confronted with the reality that Facebook is desperate to recruit the underaged demographic.

The latest news sees Facebook advertisements target the very children they are supposed to be turning away:

An alliance of consumer rights groups on Monday pressed Facebook not to aim advertisements at preteen children or track their activities online if it formally opens its site to them.

Facebook has millions of underage users who claim to be over the required age of 13, and the company has had discussions with some advocacy groups over how to keep children safe on the site if they insist on signing up.

The topic of whether children under 13 should be on Facebook is hugely contested. One side argues that under no circumstances should young children be permitted on a social networking site, and another argues for an array of restrictions and conditions on how they can use the site.

The groups that sent the letter on Monday to Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, include Consumers Union, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action and the Consumer Federation of America. They called on Facebook to refrain from tracking children under 13 both on the Facebook site and on other sites that have Facebook widgets, such as the “like” button. In addition, they called on Facebook to enable parents to monitor and review their preteen children’s activities, offer parents “granular control” over every application they use on the Facebook platform and keep children’s account settings as private as possible.

The letter read: “We want assurances that any space created for children under the age of 13 on the site is safe, parent-guided and controlled, and, most importantly, free of ads.”

Advertising is not the only reason Facebook would want to allow under-13s on its site. It could widen its user base, guard against children becoming attached to another social network, and potentially build a trove of information on users as they grow into adulthood. By developing special conditions for them, the company could also protect itself from a federal regulation that requires companies that gather information about children under 13 to obtain written consent from their parents; those regulations are being revised.


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.

What Facebook Age Restrictions?

August 4, 2011

There is age rstrictions on Facebook for a reason.  The potential outcomes when a pre-teen uses Facebook are severe enough to warrant it a 13+ age requirement.

But does that stop under age kids opening their own account?  Of course not.

Washington: Some 7.5 million of the 20 million minors who used Facebook in the past year were younger than 13, and a million of them were bullied, harassed or threatened on the site, says a study released Tuesday. Even more troubling, more than five million Facebook users were 10 years old or younger, and they were allowed to use Facebook largely without parental supervision leaving them vulnerable to threats ranging from malware to sexual predators, the State of the Net survey by Consumer Reports found.” Read the rest, here.

And this is a trend we are seeing all over the world.  As important as it is to have this age requirement, it seems too easy to sidestep it.

I believe that if Facebook really wanted to ban under 13’s from setting up accounts, they could.

But do they really want to?

Parents Join Facebook to Spy on Their Kids

July 15, 2011

Parents are clearly concerned about what their kids do on Facebook:

A survey has revealed that fully 30 per cent of British parents’ Facebook “friend” requests to their children get rejected, and that many then resort to using other people’s login details in order to keep track of their offspring’s Web-2.0 activities.

This sad commentary on the number of parents who feel able to speak to their kids as opposed to interacting with them primarily online – it would seem normal to know in advance whether a friend request to one’s nipper would be rejected, for instance – came among the results of a survey of 2,000 online Brits.

The survey revealed that among today’s digital British some 5 per cent of parents would like to monitor their kids on Facebook but don’t know how, and 55 per cent do stalk their kids online. No less than 11 per cent reported that the only reason they had a Facebook account was to keep an eye on their nippers, suggesting that in some age groups, up to a fifth of Facebook users have no real interest in the service’s putative benefits and are only there because they worry about its effects on their kids.

Indeed in many cases a Facebook user who signed up for positive reasons is not actually that person – it is a friend of theirs borrowing their login to keep tabs on their kids. Some 13 per cent of digital parents reported having done this, presumably because they couldn’t be bothered creating an account just for this purpose.

Altogether then, it would appear that 24 per cent of online Brit parents consider that the only reason to use Facebook is worry about their children. Perhaps it’s just as well that the company’s founder Mark Zuckerberg says he no longer cares about new signups.

“These figures are initially quite surprising, but since certain malicious third parties have been known to prey on unsuspecting or over trusting individuals online, it does seem as though many could have legitimate concerns,” commented Claus Villumsen of security firm Bullguard, which commissioned the survey.

I wonder if Mark Zukerberg and his Facebook team can do more to help concerned parents.

Mark Zuckerberg Against Facebook Age Restrictions

May 23, 2011

Should we be surprised that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, thinks kids under 13 should be able to have their own Facebook pages?  I’m sure the founder of cigarette companies are only too happy to lower age restrictions on their products too.

You might think that my comparison is quite gratuitous, and I suppose it is, but one cannot properly articulate the damage inflicted on  cyber bullied children.

Zuckerberg thinks he can protect these kids:

“My philosophy is that for education, you need to start at a really young age”, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the New Schools Summit in California, about why he thinks children under the age of 13 should be allowed to be Facebook members. Currently the age restriction requires that one be thirteen years or older to get a Facebook log on ID, but of course it is not difficult to avoid this and create an account anyway. Consumer Reports recently reported that there are about 7.5 million children under the age of 13 on Facebook.

Zuckerberg explained that, in his view, software and technology will help students learn a lot from one another, and that if COPPA were lifted, “we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger children] are safe. “ COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, makes it illegal for web sites to collect information on children under the age of 13.

However, amidst growing concern about online privacy in general, lifting COPPA may be optimistic. Senator John Rockefeller on Thursday question Facebook Chief Technology Officer on Capital Hill saying: “I want you to defend your company here because I don’t know how you can.”

Zuckerberg’s assurances are not in the least bit reassuring.  There is no way they can properly ensure the safety of children.  And why would they need to, if they only let kids be kids?  So they wait until 13 to use Facebook?  I’ve said it before.  Why would a 12-year old need a Facebook page anyway?

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