back to article Zuckerberg: Give me your children

Mark Zuckerberg has revealed his determination to allow under-13s onto Facebook, whatever politicians, regulators and the rest of the grownups say. Speaking at an education summit in the US, the 27-year-old said the "educational benefits" of his social network made it a must-visit site for everyone old enough to push a mouse …


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  1. Lockwood


    Ok, little Billy. This is a "Mafia war" Can you say "Mafia?"

    This is "Farmville" "Farm. Ville." "Very good!"

    1. Mark 65

      Educational benefits

      It is but one of life's various locations to find out what a "gullible fuckwit" is with the side benefit of being able to see what other countries have to offer in terms of village idiot.

  2. Chad H.

    Does he actually give any justifiable reason

    Why a 7yr old needs to be on Facebook?

    1. Lockwood

      Maybe not justifiable...


      More users = more views.

      More views = more adverts displayed.

      More adverts displayed = more money.

      Cynical paraphrase to deflect the point: Zuckerburg wants to exploit 7 year olds for money.

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Paris Hilton


        Zuckerburg - He's the mac daddy of the advertising industry!

    2. Ted Treen


      Ok, I'm the wrong side of 60, and have been involved in IT since the late 1970's. I'm not slow to pick up on new technology when I can see its benefits, but for the life of me I STILL can't see any benefit to Facebook

      1. ratfox

        We don't need any steenkin Facebook

        Ok, I am on the wrong side of 30, so I'm an old foggy. Cheers

      2. AdamWill


        quite a lot of people I know seem to prefer replying to facebook messages than email, these days.

        other than't come up with much.

        1. Chad H.

          @ Adam Will

          But does a 7yr old need to do any of these things?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "... for the life of me I STILL can't see any benefit to Facebook."

        Or, for that matter, ANY of these lame "social networking" sites.

        I have a similar profile...over 60...been in IT for a LONG time..and I REFUSE to use any of these idiotic sites.

        Need a "friend"? Get a dog!

        1. Francis Fish

          You aren't the demographic

          Your IT knowledge and how far back it goes is irrelevant. It's a simple replacement for sending a group mail (either snail or e) to keep your friends up to date and sharing photos and so on.

          You obviously don't need it - fine.

          I find the sites useful and twitter has replaces RSS for me - but whatever suits your needs.

        2. Ted Treen

          Amen to that!


          But having thought about it, I can see SOME people who might find Facebook useful:-

          1) Party gatecrashers

          2) Your friendly neighbourhood burglars.

    3. G Wilson

      The Hamburglar Justification

      So he can sell them shit food full of sugar and salt, and possibly Hannah Montana DVD's. Why should TV have all the fun?

    4. Ken 16

      the same reason a 70 year old does

      (remind me what that was again?)

  3. Anonymous Coward


    If the international Criminal Court really did it's job, Mark Zuckerberg would already have been indicted for Crimes Against Humanity. This just nails it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If this is allowed, god help the kids.

    Zucks can spout some shite can't he?

    As if Zucks aint got enough "bitches", 600 million of them and counting.

  5. LPF

    yeah because..

    Kids have not figured out that all they need to do is put in a fake birthdate.. yep deffo not worked that one out :S

    1. Dr. Mouse


      My cousin has just turned 13, and she's been on FB for at least a couple of years

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I supposed what Zuck wants

      is to be absolved of all responsibility for checking that the kids are actually 13 or over.

      He knows as well as anyone that millions of children are using his site anyway, the last thing he wants is for someone to take him to task over that.

  6. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    ...and there's nothing you can do to stop it!

    Apart from being a responsible parent and not letting your kid use the Internet alone and not letting the little brat sign up for FB.

    1. karl 15
      Black Helicopters


      And use the hosts file to block fackbook

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters


        use OpenDNS and block social networking sites.

        Works for me (or my kids).

        I blocked it ever since they 'required' my phone number to check I was a real person (And wouldn't let me delete my account until I had - which I didn't obviously).

        1. spodula

          Are you sure?

          Facebook as never "Required" me to put my phone number in.

          I remember it asking about some personal details some while back, but i clicked the "NO" button, and it seemed to leave it at that.

          Of course, it has no business even requesting phone number and address.

          (Actually, in the UK, it may be in breach of Data protection if it did, but i'm not sure)

      2. John F***ing Stepp

        yeah there you go, the hosts file.

        Saving us from ourselves since some fool came up with the Internet Protocol.

        (Because we really don't want to visit the Protocolologist more than necessary, now do we?)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: ...and there's nothing you can do to stop it!

      "Apart from being a responsible parent and not letting your kid use the Internet alone and not letting the little brat sign up for FB."

      Easier said than done, can you control their internet access when they are around their friend's?

      How about if they get a mobile and access facebook on that? (easy to signup to facebook - just lie about your age after all) Does not necessarily require a contract phone either even a pay as you go one can do that.

      Far easier said than done when you can get the internet everywhere.

  7. VinceH

    Letters, digits.

    "And that's before he tries to convince parents that it's a good idea to appoint Facebook as the backup babysitter."

    And if/when he does reach that point, large numbers are going to say "My under 13 children are on Facebook already."

    I personally think it's irresponsible of parents to sign their (under 13yo) kids up on Facebook, lying about their age, but plenty do - sadly, including some of my own family and, even though I disapprove, I feel annoyingly obliged to accept friend requests from them so they don't get all upset that their crazy uncle is an old meanie on Facebook.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Couldn't agree more

      We shouldn't be putting kids onto facebook. Using FB as an adult represents a conscious decision to trade a bit of privacy for the benefits of FB(still wondering what they are.)

      Given the patchy privacy history of FB, it's safe to assume there'll be further leaks of information/photos etc.

      Now who knows what their kids will do when they grow up? I don't. So assuming they grow up to be famous, paranoid or gain a stalker, reckon they'll thank us for being behind all those photos that got leaked from FB?

      Course, the kid could grow up into a nobody and not be affected even if all their data leaked, but as we can't know in advance do we have the right to make that big a decision about our kids privacy?

      Unfortunately, that's exactly what a lot of people are doing.


    2. 100113.1537

      And exactly why..

      this crazy old uncle refuses to sign up to Facebook or any other social networking site!

  8. Andrew Waite

    Not sure why...

    Not sure why everyone is immediately dismissing this.

    Yes, there are dangers on line.

    Yes, kids need to be looked after properly.

    But in principal, I can't see too much wrong with teaching kids to use real world systems whilst they're young enough to quickly assimilate data and concepts.

    What about providing access only to friends pages, walls etc. and have any friend requests have to be authorised by an associated parent/guardian account.

    More importantly, hands up if you think the current 13+ system actually prevents the 12 and unders from actually getting an account? Anyone?

    1. Asgard

      "I can't see too much wrong" ... then look closer!

      @"But in principal, I can't see too much wrong with teaching kids to use real world systems whilst they're young enough to quickly assimilate data and concepts"

      Then you need to look more deeply at what marketing manipulations corporations do. Hit them young with marketing the Facebook brand. The Facebook way of life, of having no privacy and having to give up their privacy to entertain and win the approval of their peers and all the while Facebook sits there spying and recording their life experiences, to build up an ever more detailed profile of the kid over time, to then sell that information for the rest of their life. Thats the kind of abusive situation responsible parents try to protect their kids from. For example:

      I would hate for all kids to have to grow up with the insecurity of having to feel like they have to win the acceptance of their superficial arrogant insecure in your face kind of kids online, who so dominate sites like Facebook. Thats the insecure American way of social life, of having to be so worried and obsessed with having to win the acceptance of the fraternity peer group leaders and of being endlessly racked with guilt and insecurity if they cannot get in and all the while, the peer group leaders loving their power and attention as they force new members to do humiliating things. Which in the case of on Facebook, will mean kids forced to reveal ever more of their life online to entertain and win the approval of their peer group leaders. To hell with that insecure way of life.

      Responsible parents would like to protect their kids from that kind of abusive social structure. Not everyone needs the insecure life of the peer group leaders and forcing every kid into that deeply insecure way of life is sick and deeply harmful to their confidence.

    2. Cameron Colley

      Facebook is not "the internet".

      It is one website run by a guy whose only aim is to exploit as many people as he can to gain himself more money so that, one day, he'll stop feeling inadequate and pathetic. He called his users Bitches and Dumb Fucks and that's just the things that have been publicised an known -- who knows how much contempt he really has for people?

      Kids should be supervised on the internet and educated about it -- but that doesn't mean they need to be able to sign up to the latest fashionable site.

      Make no mistake -- this is about Zuckerberg realising that if he can get kids now Facebook will become a de-fact method of communication going forward and he'll be in control of it. Some may say he's already succeeded -- but in that case it still doesn't help anyone letting kids use Facebook -- it's not like it operates differently to the rest of the web or anything, so there's zero educational value in introducing them to it.

    3. It wasnt me
      Thumb Down

      I partly understand what youre saying.

      Youre giving Zuckerberg the benefit of the doubt, and assuming he want to educate children, not profit from them.

      Perhaps we should listen a little more to him when he:

      (a) Guarantees there will be no advertising of clickthroughs or other attempts to extort on under-13s pages.

      (b) Puts forward a proper set of security controls to enable parental supervision.

      Until then he just wants more money, and he can fuck off.

      1. stucs201
        Thumb Up

        re: it wasn't me

        "(a) Guarantees there will be no advertising of clickthroughs or other attempts to extort on under-13s pages."

        If they implement that I'll be lying about my age to turn off the ads.

    4. Mark 65

      @Andrew Waite

      If you can't see anything wrong then think about your child's future opportunities for employment when the shite they posted as a youth comes back to bite them on the arse. Think along the lines of a future boss finding out what you did whilst wagging class back in 1987 or similar - the internet doesn't forget.

    5. Bluenose

      There are other systems than Facebook

      For starters I teach them to use the Internet Banking system so they can learn how much money they are costing me, then there is the time recording system at work if they can use that then it saves me a fair bit of time. And of course if they could figure out a way to get idiots on Facebook to respond to stupid ads, games and other means of fleecing them of of money which they could manage in the family bank account I could retire and not have to fill in any more time sheets.

      Maybe some parts of using Facebook could be educational.

      In reality there are far better sites and systems I think would benefit them than Facebook.

    6. drengur

      As someone who has gone though this with their child....

      what you are saying is pretty ill informed. Facebook is a real world system, much in the way online poker and is a real-world system. Nothing wrong with either of those, but they require a certain amount of maturity that children under 12 lack the maturity to differentiate valid and suspicious behavior as a rule. While both of the examples are obviously adult systems, and I don't really feel facebook requires 18+, it certainly shouldn't be available to primary school students.

      I'm sure he's looking at mcdonalds as a model.... get 'em young, get 'em addicted and they'll be a customer for life.

      As for 'does it stop them':-

      My daughters silly mum signed her up for facebook at 8 years old (daughter lives with me). Complete with pictures, likes and interests and friends... fully available to the public.

      With info like that, children are prime abduction candidates.

      Facebook had it down the next day once we alerted them.

      It doesn't stop them, but responsible parents can monitor it to some degree. And your idea about parents monitoring/controlling access is assuming they use facebook themselves, and is pretty much, unworkable for anyone with a life outside of... well, monitoring facebook...

  9. damocles


    Your children, he wants them.

  10. Pete 2 Silver badge

    FB is probably one of the more benign 'net destinations

    Trying to stop a child surfing is as pointless as trying to stop them swearing or watching the "wrong sort" of TV or sneaking some booze. They'll deny they do it, and it serves their parents interests' to go along with that charade - even though everybody knows they are almost certainly lying. Just like their parents' generation did.

    So on that basis, would you prefer the little darlings to spend time on a popular website that has a great deal to lose if it's reputation goes sour, or to be frequenting some of the webs darker corners? It's not a choice of internet or no-internet: that battle was lost years ago, but where the tykes go.

    So, employing the "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" principle it's better to give the children a piece of FB they can call their own. Safe in the knowledge that the laws that govern it are some of the most restrictive, unforgiving and prudish in the western world. Maybe once this "playground" version of FB is up and running, kids can build up some sort of history that (assuming good behaviour and indications of a degree of maturity) will eventually permit them to graduate to the "big boys" Facebook. You never know, that sort of qualifier or probabtion could even be a good entry requirement for ordinary FB and it's supposedly mature users.

  11. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Well I wonder why?

    Oh yes, 'cos Zuckerberg is a power-mad, cash hoarding nob-cheese with as much moral fibre as a moldy spud!

    Why ANY person at ANY age would wish to use anything put forward by this self-publicising dingbat is beyond me, but 500 million can't be wrong I suppose!

    Cue moral panic from Daily Mail readers about paedos loose on FB, etc...

    1. Yag

      500 billions flies can not be wrong...

      Eat rotten meat!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    If you want to give them a real education

    4chan /b/

    nuff said

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Kids should at least learn a lot about online privacy, even if it is the hard way...

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick


      No, that's actually what the The Darwin Awards are for.

      It would Zuck to be your kid.

  14. Oliver Mayes

    Might actually be safer

    Kids are using it anyway, they just enter a fake age to get in. If they're able to enter their real age and still use the site it'll be easier to identify young users and ensure they're not being contacted by 'dodgy' people. I know, I know, this might sound like a 'think of the children' rationalisation, but I still believe that having the users actual age will make it a lot easier to improve security for them.

    1. system

      RE: Might actually be safer

      So what happens the minute they are "protected" in some way, or blocked from accessing certain content? Unless Zuck has discovered a magic cure for lying, then this will not change a single thing (except FBs profit margin).

      Think I'll stick with monitoring what my kids are doing, not having raging liars for offspring and not allowing them to join FB no matter how many of their friends crappy parents allow their kids to sign up.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    under 13s?

    And I thought FB was for kids only anyway. Stupid me.

  16. DrXym Silver badge

    There is nothing to stop Facebook targetting under 13 year olds

    Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, Neopets et al all target under 13s and allow a degree of personal interaction, chat etc?

    So why is it that Facebook claim they cannot implement something similar? I assume they would have to require parental consent, not sell personal information to 3rd parties, destroy said information when asked to do so, provide supervisory monitoring, tools for adult supervision and keep the under 13s in a walled garden where the content and their contacts are approved and age appropriate.

    It seems doable. Except of course Facebook probably wants to monetize children the way it does adults. It has little to do with "education" and a lot to do with selling their data to all and sundry.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      There is no *true* legal restriction against registering kids under 13, there are just a lot of care and controls that are (AFAIK) legally required... which I can only assume Mr. Zuckerberg doesn't care to be bothered with.

      I would imagine it would be a significant effort to do it proper instead of just lobbying to give Facebook a pass and officially treat 13-and-unders as adults - which is, in effect, what they're already doing.

      Personally I think this has more to do with laziness and possibly - given that I don't know the regulations in place and therefore offer a potential benefit of a doubt - serious hurdles around making a Facebook for kids actually work (the little I've seen of Club Penguin and the like - they are more or less completely anonymous, which seems to be a little contrary to the core "hey look at me" concept of Facebook). If anything, having a Facebook Kids Club would shore up future usage and keep them from going anywhere else once they turn 14 - "hook em while they're young" and all...

    2. Old Handle
      Thumb Up

      Excelent point

      The law actually says they can't collect personal information from a child under 13 *without permission of a parent or guardian*. To be fair, the rules are slightly onerous, in that it requires a written signature, credit card, or some such which is a bit of a joke considering how easily the kid can just enter a phony birthdate. Still, it's not like it's completely illegal, just a hassle.

      I'm not a big fan of that law actually, but if Facebook is serious about wanting to gain experience, all they have to do is start offering a system for creating parent-approved child Facebook accounts.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        They can collect information

        The COPPA act is here and is perfectly reasonable:

        Facebook can collect information but they must disclose what they're collecting to the parent / guardian and there are other restrictions / controls on how that data is managed. Nothing so onerous that there aren't hundreds of sites that cater for kids exclusively or in addition to adults.

        Facebook could set up a walled garden for kids which was compelling yet in total compliance with the regulations if they so wished. Instead they've turned this into some kind of bullshit educational crusade that they can't possibly work within the framework when it is clear they can and also clear why they wish not to.

  17. Annihilator Silver badge

    Zuckerberg rants about unfairness - news just in

    "He went on to say “This will be a fight we take on at some point." Presumably Zucks is already secure in his right to party."

    The general point of the story/article was a bit of a snore-fest, as every Zuckerberg story is prone to be, but thanks for livening up my day with the above :-)

  18. James Woods

    if memory serves me right

    At least back in the day internet service providers had an 18 or older clause in them regarding use.

    Same with cellphones.

    Perhaps it's time to start being a parent again.

    It worked for previous generations.

    Just because perverts want your 7 year olds info doesn't mean anyone has to give it to them.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. NoneSuch Silver badge

    In other news...

    Zuck is buying Neverland Ranch, the bones of the Elephant man and rumoured to be sleeping in an oxygen tank at night.

    His new P.A., a chimp called Bubbles, had no comment at press time.

  21. exexpat

    this site might change your mind about letting your kids on FB

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How to protect your kids.

    From day one, lie to them about their names and exact ages.

    Then when they are a little older and wiser, move them to a different county, tell them their true personal details and abandon the old FB accounts.

    Of course they will need plastic surgery too. Facial metrics will only be suitably altered by breaking and rebuilding parts of the skull.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      that is so smooth

      and on the plus side, they don't even have to be your kids.

  23. -tim
    Thumb Down

    Has facebook reached its top?

    Since the chats started showing the full history, I've noticed most of the women I used to chat with have gone to other systems. They are horrified that the chat logs are there forever and that is bad for face book since it was their core demographic.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another reason to not use Facebook

    It's getting blatantly obvious that Zuckerberg and Facebook are sick enough to put income before the safety and welfare of children and want them on there.

    This guy is as much a sick pervert as the ones that would be attracted to facebook knowing that young and probably gullible children will be on facebook!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Facebook should be banned

    I believe it is one of the greatest killers of true social interaction.

    I mean, people go out on the town and instead of truly enjoying themselves they post messages all night portraying themselves to be enjoying the night with staged poses. They could REALLY be enjoying themselves and interacting properly with each other if the put down the bl***y mobile.

    When are some people going to realise their life is a sham and they have no real friends except those who are also attempting to portray a celebrity existence on Facebook..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      that's the main thing I don't understand

      The "we're having so much fun" photos and status updates (posted "live" via mobile of course).

      I thought that time flies when you're having fun, so at what point does a person find time to make dozens of status updates if they are truly having fun?

      I think that it is only a small minority of people who actually do this and the group of friends to which they attach themselves simply tolerate their behavior rather than consent to it.

      There's a loud mouth in every group who thinks it is his or her duty to provide photographic documentation of the entire event, posting the photos online is just an extension of that.

      These people probably have romantic fantasies of themselves as war photographers, going behind enemy lines to get the best shots that no one else would dare to capture on film. Of course they would not want to put themselves in any physical danger, that would be far too lower class.

      The saddest thing of all is that, when they look back at their photo albums full of generic staged shots of drunk posers doing the same thing they have been doing every week for 20 years, they won't even have the good sense to find this situation deeply depressing.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Noone could have foreseen that...

    Someone mentioned kids and half of you jumped straight to Paedogeddon again.

    13 is fine, otherwise you'll get told off for saying fuck in front of the children on Facebook as well as in real life.

  27. Mostor Astrakan
    Big Brother


    "Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man."

  28. Jonjonz

    Chackbook legislation

    So the pols are salivating while Zuck takes out his checkbook. Fascism at it's worst.

  29. Andrew Moore

    My kids wouldn't use Facebook...'d cut into their Club Penguin/PanFu time.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So what happens the careful they are "invulnerable" in some way, or obstructed from accessing certain noesis? Unless Zuck has unconcealed a supernatural heal for falsification, then this give not move a only artifact (eliminate FBs clear border).

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