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.
I would think, it's just acknowledging reality. How many under 13s have entered an age 13 or greater and promised they're truly of an age 13 or greater? How can a FB server know? (Does FB have a "real name" policy like G+? I don't know—I'm not a member...)
If you had a 10 year old daughter, would you trust FB to keep them safe online? I certainly wouldn't.
Apart from that, you have to question FBs motives. A company that gets a lot of its income from collecting data and targetted advertising is not going to observe the wide and varied child advertising laws around the world.
I think it's a non-starter. Child exploitation is not going to save FBs failing shares, unless they open a counterfeit sports goods factory in the third world.
How many under 13s have entered an age 13 or greater and promised they're truly of an age 13 or greater?
A lot. My kid (and all her friends) entered their ages as 17-18 or so when they first signed up a few years ago and it was mostly college kids using FB. Now that everyone from tweens to seniors are on FB, and you can hide your age/birthday in the privacy controls, they are more likely to use their actual DOB.
This announcement is not about privacy, or protecting kids, or parental control -- its to formulate more accurate marketing data, (there's a big market of disposable income in the tween/teen market, and another whole market of "people with kids" that FB wants to better profile).
The single truth is that since FB was built by someone with no ethics who will lie cheat and steal and lie some more to get your info, you can' trust them no matter what the PR is.