Facebook's ban on kids under the age of 13 is sort of like most DRM policies; all it does is keep some of the honest ones out. Nevertheless, whether for legal purposes or a sense of moral responsibility, Facebook as seen fit up to this point to disallow, at least officially, children who haven't hit their teen years from joining the most popular social networking site on the planet. That might soon change.
A report in The Wall Street Journal suggests Facebook is currently testing mechanisms that would tie a child's account to that of their parents', giving mom and pop ultimate control over their friends list, applications, and other features.
Why do it? Cold, hard cash, of course. WSJ says the under-13 features could give Facebook a way to monetize minors, flipping parents the bill for games and other content. Perhaps another reason is that blocking kids is ultimately a losing battle, in terms of enforcement.
"Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services," Facebook told WSJ .
Facebook speaks the truth, but let's not, uh, kid ourselves. This is about the money, and Facebook is under pressure to sustain profitability after forging ahead with its (lackluster) initial public offering (IPO). Mark Zuckerberg and company have investors to answer to, and by inviting game playing children to the fold, Facebook would gain another steady source of revenue.
Do you think Facebook should lift its ban on kids under 13?
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