Will Facebook Get the Jolt They Need from the FTC Revisions on COPPA?

Author: Laurie Borland
Published: June 04, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Last week at the All Things D, D10 conference, Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC said COPPA was undergoing changes. COPPA, the Child Online Privacy Protection Act, does not allow children to be tracked, which prohibits Facebook from knowingly allowing any child under 13 to have a Facebook account. Revisions to COPPA were proposed in September 2011, the first since the year 2000 when the Act was introduced. The prohibition on data collection on children under 13 has been a long debated topic among businesses and parents.

What is the right answer? Education is key, and beginning at a young age is even more crucial. Our nation's children are being exposed to digital technology by the time they are 6 months old, if you consider the iPad. Many children are lying about their age to obtain a Facebook account. Lying about your age may seem trivial to some, but this is the foundation we lay for our children as they attempt to pioneer through the digital frontier. Do we want them to believe that behind a cloak they can lie?

Depending on what is updated in the COPPA guidelines, we might see changes to Facebook's policy on under age usage. Depending on how one looks at it, this might be the jolt that Facebook needs right now. Low voltage as it may seem, it's voltage on a long standing debate.

Slowly, digital standards are being set. Continuous revisions to our definitions and uses will need to be done on an ongoing basis, as we continue to try and travel the digital frontier.

Last year, Mark Zuckerberg went on record to say, that he believes we need to start our children young when it comes to digital accountability and rules. We need good digital citizens of the future, and Zuckerberg went on to say Facebook would take on COPPA at some point. Looks like someone has taken that job on and things seem to be progressing from proposed revisions to updates in the COPPA rules based on Mr. Leibowitz’s comments. 

Where do you stand on this topic?


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Article Author: Laurie Borland

I love to write. I want to make a difference in our world and my voice can be a vehicle of change for our future. I am interested in connecting stories on the tech trail for startups, current events/politics, science and tech, entertainment, education, …

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