Facebook denies under-13s will be able to join network

21 May 2012

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Facebook is not changing its rules and allowing children under the age of 13 to join the social networking site, the company said in response to a contrary report.

The Sunday Times had quoted Simon Milner, head of policy in Britain for Facebook, as saying Facebook had plans, albeit at a very early stage, to open up the site to younger members.

A Facebook spokesperson, however, told The Telegraph there are no such plans in the works.

“We have no idea how The Sunday Times concluded that we are opening up to under-13s from the conversation Simon Milner had with them," the spokesperson said.

"All we have said is what we have been saying for months – that minors on Facebook and the internet is an important issue – and we want to work with the broader industry to look at ways of keeping minors safe. The headline … from The Times is no reflection of that conversation.”

On the site itself, Facebook says it will promptly delete the account of any child under the age of 13 that is reported via the completion of an online form, provided the child’s age is reasonably verifiable as being under 13.

"Facebook requires individuals to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. In some jurisdictions, the age limit may be higher. Providing false information to create an account is always a violation of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of under 13 year old children by older parties," Facebook says.

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Tina held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto

editorial@siliconrepublic.com