I do a wee news roundup for Techradar each week, and this week social networks were the main story. Facebook, it seems, is coming for your children.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t like the way the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act prevents Facebook from giving accounts to under-13s. But it’s not because he wants to make money from advertisers desperate to target the elusive and big-spending pre-teen market. No sirree.
It’s because getting the wee ones on Facebook will make them clever, or something. “In the future, software and technology will enable people to learn a lot from their fellow students,” Zuckerberg says.
Remember the adage “If you can’t see what the site is selling, the product is you”? That’s Facebook – so when Zuck says he wants kids on Facebook, I have a mental image of children being fed into mincers and made into sausages. I know I’m not Facebook’s biggest fan – I’d love to write a column called Fuck Zuck where I make appalling and libellous comments about whatever annoying thing the Facebook founder’s done that month – but when a company whose business is selling your life to advertisers says it wants your kids, my Sinister Detector tends to go off the scale.
According to Reuters, Zuckerberg is now “contradicting some media reports”: “some time in the future, I think it makes sense to explore that, but we’re not working on it right now.” What he isn’t doing is changing his position. The comment that kicked off the “coming for your kids” stories was: “That will be a fight we take on at some point.”
He isn’t saying Facebook doesn’t want your children. He’s saying Facebook doesn’t want them just yet.