Zuckerberg: Give me your children
Give me the child before 7 and I will give the leads to advertisers
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.
"My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age,” the Telegraph reports Zuckerberg as saying.
“Because of the [legal] restrictions we haven't even begun this learning process. If they're lifted then we'd start to learn what works."
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.
Zuckerberg is clearly speaking from the heart, and we wonder whether he was hamstrung as a child in his efforts to explore the far reaches of America Online or Compuserve.
However, he faces a number of hurdles in achieving his dream of letting pre-schoolers preserve their dislike of vegetables or informing 12-year-olds that the rest of the class think they stink for digital posterity.
In the UK, the site operates a voluntary agreement not to register under-13-year-olds. But this is just a mirror of US laws aimed at protecting children's digital privacy.
So Zuckerberg will have to convince the US legislature that his site is a suitable destination for the youth - a legislature that is arguably more conservative than the one that enacted the 1998 law.
In the UK, he'll have to convince an array of pressure groups and NGOs that he really has the kids' best interests at heart. Given the site's entanglements with CEOP over the inclusion of a help button, this might be a stretch.
And that's before he tries to convince parents that it's a good idea to appoint Facebook as the backup babysitter.
But just think of the educational benefits. Get the kid signed up at eight and by the time they reach adulthood and are ready to go to college, advertisers will have been fully educated as to their likes and dislikes and will be able to make a pretty good guess as to what kind of consumer they are likely to turn into. ®
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.
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.
"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.