Facebook has already come under fire in the United States regarding the debate whether or not to let children under 13 access the site. Now the social networking company is being targeted by the European Union.
According to a recent survey conducted by the European Commission, several other social media websites were lambasted for not doing enough to protect children from online dangers, such as bullying and pedophiles. However, Facebook is taking the brunt of the blame, probably because it is the largest and most well-known social network on the planet.
Some of the major takeaway points from the European Commission's investigation so far:
- 77 % of children aged 13-16 and 38% of children aged 9-12 in Europe use social networking sites
- 12 of the 14 sites included in the survey make it impossible to find children's profiles via search engines
- Only Bebo and MySpace were deemed as sufficient enough in preventing strangers from accessing minors' profiles
According to AFP, European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes said in a statement:
I am disappointed that most social networking sites are failing to ensure that minors' profiles are accessible only to their approved contacts by default.
Although the European Commission hasn't threatened Facebook or these other sites with any stricter investigations, lawsuits or legal assaults of any other kind, it would be too soon to rule out any of those routes now. For now, the Commission will soon advise these social networks to implement a kind of "self-regulatory framework" in regards to protecting the privacy and security of minors online before taking stricter measures.
Facebook already has to deal with the EU's qualms over facial recognition technology in its Photos app. Stateside, Facebook's privacy settings are under debate once again as the FTC has approved to allow Facebook activity to be included in background checks.