Facebook explores access for kids under age 13

“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,” Anton Troianovski and Shayndi Raice report for The Wall Street Journal.

“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,” Troianovski and Raice report. “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.”

Troianovski and Raice report, “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.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What could go wrong?

Related articles:
iOS 6 to feature system-wide Facebook integration, including ‘Liking’ App Store apps – June 4, 2012
Google’s fear: An Apple-Facebook love fest – June 3, 2012
If Facebook gets any cheaper Apple needs to buy it – June 1, 2012


  1. Younger people are abandoning FaceBook in droves. The only way that FB can save it from becoming the ‘computer’ plaything of the elderly is to try to get the children onboard.

      1. I guess that I am completely wrong. Your friend list is proof that FB is strong and attracting young people who will remain faithful for life. The tech writers who have been quoted in past articles on various sites are also wrong and need to be put in their place.

      2. have you ever tried to remove your account? You can’t you can disable it. But you can never get rid of it. Maybe that is why! I never use my FB anymore.

  2. wow.
    expected or unexpected?
    controversial at least.
    that’s what makes life interesting.

    1. is underage FB access like Child Porn
    in terms of $ greed or exploitation,
    even though it’ll be through parental controls?
    2. or is it right for FB as they tackle the problem fearlessly, realistically, like legalizing drugs? facing problems is more sane than avoiding to solve them, right?

  3. The first sign of desperation. FB can’t really grow their user base any longer- so they have to find more user base since they can’t make a good profit on the user base they have. terrible cycle into the social nowhere bin with myspace and the others.

  4. If Facebook really wants to do something to verify the age of its users, I’d be fine with it, but most people would freak. I’d even be willing to pay a nominal fee ($1/month) for a improved FB with less advertising (already using Facebook Cleaner Safari extension).
    Anything to rid FB of all the fake profiles and idiots who have created profiles for their pets, etc.
    But their user base would tank if they required a driver’s license or credit card verification process. On the other hand, Fb would actually have a way to make revenue and weed out all the inactive accounts.

  5. If parents want to put their child in the Main St store window in a lawless wild west town, with a sheriff motivated only by greed, they have the right to do it. But, when a perv offers the kid candy and the child vanishes, don’t blame FB.

    (Greedy staff at FB) + (Parents wanting free babysitter) = Sacrificing YOUR Children for THEIR Money

  6. The current rules forbidding under-13s are due to the Children’s Online Privacy & Protection Act (COPPA), which requires verifiable parental consent in order to collect information from anyone under 13. Verifiable parental consent is almost impossible to guarantee, therefore most sites forbid those under 13 and turn a blind eye to abuse. Thus the intent of the law is lost as under 13s lie about their age to gain access and then receive no protection at all.

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