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Facebook patent plans to allow children to join network

People on Laptop

Facebook patent plans to allow children to join network

It has been revealed that social networking site Facebook has designed a system whereby children under the age of 13 can join the website, with the approval and supervision of parents.

The company filed a patent in November 2012, with the application being approved and published at the end of May this year by the Patent Office, which describes the supervision-based system.

In order for the account to be set up, parents and guardians would have to verify both their own identities and their relationship to the child. From here, strict privacy controls would need to be adhered to, with permissions stating that parents would have to approve certain actions.

Privacy settings would also see parents having the power to control the content that the youngsters are exposed to, including access to certain friends and third-party apps built into the website, such as popular games like Candy Crush.

The social platform currently bans those under the age of 13 from joining the network and actively seeks to remove accounts they believe belong to preteens, with up to 800,000 being removed in 2012 alone. However, research into this subject suggests that there could be a total of 5.6 million accounts belonging to those under the age of 13, which may have been created with the assistance of their parents.

Statements on behalf of Facebook highlight to news suppliers that the network has nothing to announce about allowing under 13 to access the site, and that the patent is currently part of research into this area.

Alan Littler

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