4. Facebook's Kiddie Quandary
As if our friends at Facebook (FB) don't have enough on their newly public plates, they now have children to contend with. And when we say children, we mean Congress of course.
Facebook, which went public last month in the IPO flub of the century and has swooned ever since, is being scrutinized by lawmakers in the wake of news that the company is considering a new option to allow children under 13 onto its site.The co-chairmen of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, Texas Republican Joe Barton and Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday asking him to provide details on his reported plans for letting youngsters -- well, younger than the baby-faced CEO himself that is -- access the social networking site. "We strongly believe that children and their personal information should not be viewed as a source of revenue," wrote the reps. "We are deeply concerned that the changes discussed by Facebook could potentially have a harmful impact on our children." Oh come on you old fogeys! First old man Bloomberg takes away our Big Gulps and now you want to keep us from connecting with our buddies online? Is this 1984 or 2012? Seriously, how's a kid supposed to have fun in this day and digital age? For the record, a May 2011 Consumer Reports survey showed that Facebook had 7.5 million users below the age of 13 in the prior year, despite the company's clear policies against it. Oh man Zuck. As if you didn't regret that IPO already, now you have to deal with a bunch of Congressmen looking to bash your life's work for the sake of a few headlines. Wasn't it far more fun when you were simply trying to impress chicks in your dorm as opposed to dealing with a bunch of political hacks trying to sway the votes of soccer moms? Look, we're not saying that the Web is a completely safe place for kids to play and that the Congressmen don't have a right to be concerned with kids safety. We absolutely, unequivocally recognize that there are places online that should be completely off limits for underage users. But give us a break guys. Zuck is a married man now and may have plans to become a father someday, so clearly he won't want to create a product that would endanger his own offspring. Perhaps more importantly, he's not an idiot who would jeopardize his precious brainchild without considering all the angles. So why don't you put the politics aside for a second and wait to hear Facebook's plan before pouncing.
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