The Joe Camel syndrome of Facebook
Rumors that Facebook wants to officially open up its pages to preteens have been floating around for a couple months. Currently Big Face says you have to be 13 to have an account, but there are lots of moms and dads out there that are already giving their blessing to kids 12 and under. Yesterday a consortium of consumer groups wrote a letter to Facebook asking that it not to market or track the preteen set.
The groups that sent the letter on Monday to Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, include Consumers Union, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action and the Consumer Federation of America. They called on Facebook to refrain from tracking children under 13 both on the Facebook site and on other sites that have Facebook widgets, such as the “like” button. In addition, they called on Facebook to enable parents to monitor and review their preteen children’s activities, offer parents “granular control” over every application they use on the Facebook platform and keep children’s account settings as private as possible.
There’s been a lot of chatter about keeping kids safe online lately. Recent, creepy activity on the flirting app Skout and online game Habbo Hotel have caused both to close off portions of their businesses aimed at minors. And there’s still no real, reliable way to determine whether a person is telling the truth when they sign up for these services.