Contrary to media reports, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said he plans to keep the social media site's gates closed to the under thirteens, at least for the time being.
Currently, Facebook operates a global minimum age policy which varies country to country, the majority, however, are around thirteen. And the complexities involved with protecting children online has put the site off from pursuing the idea.
Zuckerberg did however tell press at the e-G8 Internet Forum in Paris that a younger Facebook is not totally out of the question:
“Some time in the future, I think it make sense to explore that. But we’re not working on it right now,” he said.
Many have rushed to fill the social media gap that Facebook’s age policy has left, with websites like Moshi Monsters and Disney’s Club Penguin designed specifically for children. Dotcom entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith looks set to have more than 50 million subscribers to his Moshi Monsters site by midpoint this year. While this may seem like a tiny percentage when compared to Facebook’s membership, Acton Smith is only pushing the site to a very select age group.
Facebook has no real reason to rush into the youthful social media market, what with an expected $4 billion generated from advertising revenue in 2011 alone, things aren’t exactly going badly. Better yet, Facebook and Spotify are set to team up, bringing music streaming to the profile pages of millions, something which could sound the death knell for now almost obsolete competitor MySpace.
Should Facebook move to allow for under-13s to sign up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...