Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

Summary: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes to one day lift the minimum age restriction on the social network, allowing those under 13-years-old to create an account.

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Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities require users of the social network to be at least 13 years old (and even older, in some jurisdictions). Millions of preteens use the service anyway: some get permission from their parents to create an account while others lie about their age to get past sign-up restrictions. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wishes there was no limit in the first place.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) mandates that websites that collect information about users (like Facebook) aren't allowed to sign on anyone under the age of 13. Zuckerberg wants this changed so that younger kids can be allowed on Facebook, in the name of education. While speaking at a NewSchools Summit in California this week, he outlined how educating kids about the Internet should start at a younger age, and by doing so, we can learn how to make the Internet a safer place for children.

"That will be a fight we take on at some point," Zuckerberg said according to CNN. "My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age. Because of the restrictions we haven't even begun this learning process. If they're lifted then we'd start to learn what works. We'd take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger kids] are safe."

Two months ago, Facebook announced new safety resources and tools for reporting issues, in conjunction with a White House summit for preventing bullying. Last month, the company rolled them out:

  • More Resources for Families: the Family Safety Center has been redesigned. There are now more resources, including useful articles for parents and teens and videos on safety and privacy. In the coming weeks, Facebook will also be providing a free guide for teachers, written by safety experts Linda Fogg Phillips, B.J. Fogg and Derek Baird.
  • Social Reporting Tools: the new social reporting tool (Photo Gallery) allows people to notify a member of their community, in addition to Facebook, when they see something they don't like. By encouraging people to seek help from friends, Facebook hopes that many online issues which are a reflection of what is happening offline can be resolved face to face. This tool launched last month, but Facebook has now expanded it to other parts of the site, including Profiles, Pages, and Groups.

Less than two weeks ago, it was estimated that 7.5 million Facebook users are below the minimum age. To make matters even more worrying, more than 5 million were 10-years-old or younger.

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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61 comments
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  • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

    I don't mind someone younger being on, but Facebook needs to have better parental controls. I should be able to have access to their FB without worrying about passwords.
    theappnews
  • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

    "by doing so, we can learn how to make the Internet a safer place for children"

    this is call Bait, moron. Throw a squirrel in a lion cage to figure out how to make better squirrel armor? Not with my kids.
    bc3tech
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @bc3tech It's not really a bad idea, considering all your kids have to do right now to get on face book is to click that little dropdown box up to age 13. At least this way you can attempt to mitigate the damages.
      Aerowind
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @bc3tech
      the overriding cause is to expand the business, grow the economy and create jobs.
      These minimum age requirements are anticonstitutional big brother government intrusions.
      Linux Geek
      • create jobs? little disconnect there...

        yes, he wants more users for advertisers to buy.
        yes, he wants to grow the consumerism he promotes, which in a way grows the economy...

        ...but no, that doesn't automatically mean more jobs. Oh, and no, it's not anti-constitutional for the government to protect children from potential predators. They do it all over the place, all the time. Society SHOULD protect the children, within reason.
        shryko
      • The overriding cause to transfer large amounts of money from the stupid.

        @Linux Geek ... suckerman only wants money and power, if the kids get sacrificed its not an issue for him, just a bit of a PR pain.
        Reality Bites
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @bc3tech I don't really agree with Zuckerburg, but I think your comparison between letting your kids use Internet services and feeding them to lions is way over the top. Not everyone on the Internet are rapists and scammers -- however, you should begin with education before they actually start using the internet. It's really up to the parents.
      nickswift498
      • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

        @nickswift498 Well said!
        athynz
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @bc3tech AMEN!
      Tuggerofhearts
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @bc3tech
      Squirrel armor! That is funny:)
      gibbons@...
  • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

    Educating children about the internet doesn't need to include Facebook. Despite what Zuckerberg thinks, Facebook does not equal the internet. Plenty of people don't use the privacy-killing service.
    Droid101
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @Droid101 <br><br>Sadly, there are those who have the mind set that Facebook = computers today. <br><br>I help a guy at school set up a new netbook, who thought that by buying it, already had a Facebook set up for him. He kept asking how he can access his Facebook profile.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

        @Cylon Centurion
        Pretty sad and I pity you, not him.
        Ram U
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      Exactly - it seems to me that the internet was doing quite well without social media sites.
      jg@...
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @Droid101 Actually it should - not because I think that FB = the internet but because people use the service and they really should be educated about the pitfalls of using such a service and how to avoid those pitfalls. Not educating children about things like this is irresponsible.
      athynz
  • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

    Lol, Facebook doesn't have sufficient customer service nor enough proper privacy controls as it is, and Zuckerberg wants pre-teens on it?
    Joseph_01
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @Joseph_01
      $$$$.
      gibbons@...
  • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

    So let me get this straight...Facebook refuses to give parents access so they can monitor and remove inappropriate postings their teenage kids are foolishly making online, and now they want to aim for even younger kids as well? How completely irresponsible.
    marcedhk@...
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @marcedhk@... How do want that to be manage exactly. When do parents loose the keys, 14, 15, 16, some parents would the keys to there kids account forever.

      An perhaps the parents should just ask there kids if they can see there facebook account. If the parents and kid have enough trust there should be no issues.
      Knowles2
    • RE: Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

      @marcedhk@...
      There is no enforcement of the age restriction anyway. Some parents like myself deny a child's request for a FB account. If my 8 year old neighbor wants one, he'll get it.
      gibbons@...