June 7th, 2012
Facebook Faces Scrutiny As It Explores Adding Kids Under 13
By Cotton Delo
If Facebook wants to open its doors to kids under 13—as well as acknowledge the millions that are already there—it’s going to need to tread cautiously.
The social network is testing technologies that would link children’s pages to those of their parents and enable parents to approve friend requests and access to applications, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
These mechanisms wouldn’t be introducing young children to Facebook for the first time, but rather would give them a way to be there officially. According to a 2011 Consumer Reports survey, some 7.5 million children under 13 had already hacked into Facebook by entering a false birth date, and 5 million of those were under age 10. Whether these pages could show ads and whether data-collection practices would include a “wipe-out” mechanism that would essentially expunge young users’ records on their 13th birthday to give them a fresh start are open questions that child advocates are looking for answers to.