Print 31 comment(s) - last by dhmgejs.. on Jun 9 at 1:54 PM

Facebook is looking to bypass privacy/safety issues and make a little money in the process

Facebook already has over 900 million users, but it's looking to grab the attention of a new age group -- children under 13.

Currently, Facebook bans its social networking services to those under the age of 13. Users are required to fill in their date of birth when creating a Facebook account, ensuring that all who join are over that age limit. Facebook does this because of privacy concerns, where children could potentially be exposed to inappropriate content shared on the site or be contacted by strangers.

However, many children lie when filling in their birth date to bypass Facebook's "13 or older" rule. In fact, Consumer Reports said that 7.5 million children under the age of 13 had a Facebook account last year. Over 5 million users under the age of 10 had a Facebook page as well. Another study, conducted by Microsoft, showed that 36 percent of parents were aware that their children under the age of 13 had joined the social network.

This puts Facebook in an awkward position because people have found a way around its rules, which could potentially put children in danger. Inevitably, people would blame Facebook for a child's harm despite the disclaimer that users must be 13 years of age or older.

Now, Facebook is looking for ways to allow this younger age group to join without worrying about privacy and safety. A couple of solutions include connecting children's Facebook accounts to their parents', where their activity could be monitored, and parental controls where a child's parents can see and control every aspect of the child's Facebook experience, including who they become friends with.

"Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services," said Facebook. "We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policy makers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment."

This new move could benefit Facebook a few different ways. Not only does this cover Facebook in the event of a dangerous situation happening to a child, but drawing this age group in could also mean dollar signs in the way of gaming.

Last year, Zynga, which is a game development company associated with Facebook, made up 12 percent of the social network's $3.7 billion revenue. Facebook users play Zynga's games through Facebook and pay for certain features of the game if they please. Bringing children under 13 to the site could give the gaming sector of the social network a major boost.

While this seems like a great financial revelation for Facebook, it will have to deal with child privacy groups first. Some have already expressed concern with Facebook's latest idea, saying that the vast site is no place for children.

Facebook must also face a pending review by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is considering applying the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 and regulating what information can be taken from children on the Internet. With Facebook constantly collecting information from its users, this could be a big issue.

Facebook is always looking for new ways to engage its audience. For instance, there are rumors that the social network plans to release its first smartphone next year, where it will provide the software and HTC may provide the hardware. With Facebook stretching into every realm of our lives, it will be difficult keep children away from the site for long.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Brandon Hill on 6/4/2012 11:05:47 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of daughters and potential rapists...

By kmmatney on 6/4/2012 11:35:52 AM , Rating: 1
That's why you don't let your kids your on Facebook - there are too many other asshole kids out there. Luckily my 3 kids (ages 8, 11, 13) have had no interest in Facebook so far, so I haven't had to deal with this sort of crap.

By MrBlastman on 6/4/2012 11:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
Back when I was a kid, if a parent did something like that or not quite as extreme to a bully, he crybaby brat would have run home to his parents whining and at best, a fistfight might have occured later on between the parents as a result. Cops would never have been called or involved.

These days, all the d-bags have all the rights because their d-bag attorneys have sued their way into it being this way. The little punk got what was coming to him. However, if that mom were _really_ smart, she'd have enrolled her daughter in a self defense class and his family jewels would have ended up as family rasins. Then again... d-bag attorneys would figure out a way to ruin even that.

Yeah, society sucks these days... and yet, we continue to have tools vote for the further pussification of our country.

As for kids on Facebook... sounds like a total recipe for failure to me... a child predator's playground. While they might link the kids profiles to their parents, most parents these days are too busy both working and earning tons of money to pay any time at all to what their children do. The "house," "car," and fancy "stuff" are worth far more than their own flesh and blood.

By Dr of crap on 6/4/2012 12:09:16 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't agree more.
Our country has sunk to such pussified levels it rediculious!

You can't have a fist fight anymore without someone getting charged with something.

Oh, for the good old days when a father could straighten up his kids the right way.....

By FITCamaro on 6/4/2012 3:53:09 PM , Rating: 1
I'll probably be going to jail since I fully plan to spank my kids the way my parents spanked me. With a belt. Assuming they misbehave, which they undoubtedly will.

By Dr of crap on 6/4/2012 4:09:17 PM , Rating: 1
Way to go. Worked with my kids.

Screw the neighbors, teachers, and whoever and tell them they are accident prone!

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

Most Popular ArticlesSmartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
UN Meeting to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
September 21, 2016, 9:52 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Update: Problem-Free Galaxy Note7s CPSC Approved
September 22, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki