Technology

The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Consumer Reports: Facebook has 7.5 million underage users

May 10, 2011 | 12:15 pm

Getprev About 7.5 million active Facebook users are lying about their age -- they're younger than 13. And among those preteens, more than 5 million are under 10, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey.

That violates Facebook's own policy, meant to avoid federal regulations that apply to websites with young members. Those regulations require people who sign up to be 13 or older, the report says.

The minors' accounts "were largely unsupervised by their parents, exposing them to malware or serious threats such as predators and bullies," according to a Consumer Reports statement.

According to the survey, Facebook browsing has exposed more than 5 million American households in the last year to some form of abuse, including viruses and identity theft. About 1 million children faced some sort of cyber-bullying, the survey said.

"Despite Facebook’s age requirements, many kids are using the site who shouldn't be," Consumer Reports technology editor Jeff Fox said in the statement. "What's even more troubling was the finding from our survey that indicated that a majority of parents of kids 10 and under seemed largely unconcerned by their children's use of the site."

In April, Facebook rolled out new security tools aimed at improving how users report bullying, fake profiles and offensive content, in addition to announcing a teacher's guide to the social network.

The social-networking giant also launched a redesign of its online Family Safety Center, which has tips for families, educators and teenagers looking to use Facebook safely.

RELATED:

Facebook expands social reporting tools and revamps its Family Safety Center

Facebook reportedly teaming with Baidu to build Chinese social-networking site

RenRen, China's social-networking site, soars in IPO, L.A.'s Boingo Wireles tumbles [Updated]

-- Shan Li

Photo: The Facebook website is displayed on a laptop computer May 9 in San Anselmo, Calif. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Comments 

Advertisement










Video