Parents, Facebook, COPPA

The Daily Fail style hysteria around Facebook really annoys me. Dull witted people banging on about Facebook not doing enough to protect children on their service conveniently forget one important point: it’s not a service intended for children.

Facebook originally started life as a college kids site. Cleverly, to keep it that way you could only sign up using a .edu email address. This kept it’s demographics firmly on track and created FB’s trademark environment of people using their real identity online.

Only after it was already well established did they open up the floodgates to those of us not blessed to be part of the US higher education system. Crucially though, the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) means that children under the age if 14 cannot legally sign up for the service. This is true of most Internet services provided by US companies.

Nikesh Arora – the Google God who ran their international operations – just Tweeted about his 13 year-old signing up for Facebook. My own nieces have accounts despite neither of them being old enough.

If parents allow their kids to hang out in tattoo parlours and titty bars, can they really act outraged when their little treasures come home drunk and inked?

About Graham

Forty-something gay geek living in Kings Cross with my collection of shiny computers and my fish.
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