Recently the co-chairmen of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, Edward Markley and Joe Barton, sent a letter requesting that Mark Zuckerberg give details about Facebook’s plan to permit pre-teens access to the social mediasite.
With children under 13 years old being protected by the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act which demands that parents give their consent regarding personal data to websites, it’s going to be difficult for Zuckerberg to carry through with this move.
Facebook is already in violation of their own website’s policies. In May, 2011, Consumer Reports claimed a survey shows that the site had 7.5 million users under the age 13 in 2010 and more than 5 million of those kids were under the age 11. Facebook would need to establish some sort of system that would better protect children if they were to allow them to use the site so that they aren’t faced with an unnecessary array of viral marketing and Facebook ad campaigns.
Although if isn’t set in stone, after releasing information that they are looking for some different ways to allow children under the age of 13 onto Facebook, the site began facing some criticism. Many believe that children and their personal information shouldn’t be seen as a means of revenue. Those people may be onto something.
The network wants parents to feel their kids are safe in an evolving online community. Of course allowing people under the age of 13 would increase Facebook’s user base, but it would also cause much scrutiny over security and privacy on the world’s biggest social networking site.