Facebook has been seeing loses with teenagers heading to other social media services such as Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, and the recently purchased WhatsApp among others. The popular social network has been looking to reel in pre-teens. A recent patent application shows Facebook’s attempt getting kids who fall under 13 years old minimum age requirement.
As it stands, law dictates—the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act—that kids 12 and under are off limits to websites that require personal information. The only way kids can join these sites is with proven parental consent. Due to safeguard, a whole demographic has been dropped by most services.
A recently revealed patent—filed in late 2012—shows an authentication process which would for kids to join Facebook with permission directly from their parents’ accounts. The process uses available private information from the parent’s adult to confirm the family relationship. This would also allow for the parent to control the child’s account and privacy settings.
While this could be Facebook’s means of getting around COPPA’s restriction and dipping its hand into that pool of potential Facebook users, it would still be an exploitable one. On top of that, kids under 13 can still create accounts with faulty information and by getting permission from their parents or guardians. Allowing kids under 12 onto Facebook would bring a new demographic and with a new demographic comes a new, potentially easier marketing target.
What do you think of the new patent and allowing children under 13 onto Facebook? Let us know below.
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