Facebook's question - how young is too young?

Now Reading :

Facebook's question - how young is too young?

Facebook's question - how young is too young?
Text size Aa Aa

Facebook is reportedly developing technology that would allow children younger than 13 to use the social networking site under parental supervision.

No final decision has been reached on whether or how to give them access.

Such a move could boost Facebook’s income but would be controversial in privacy terms with regard to collecting personal data where the rules are stricter for youngsters, particularly in the US.

The US Congressional Privacy Caucus has written to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg asking for details.

Germany’s consumer affairs minister also expressed concern.

Facebook has said it knows kids already use the site and it is looking for ways to help keep them safe.

The company is keen to increase the number of users and find new revenue sources in the face of worries about its sales growth.

Less friendly

At the same time a survey was published which found four out of five Facebook users have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the social network site.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll is the latest sign that much more needs to be done to turn its 900 million customer base into advertising dollars.

The online poll also found that 34 percent of Facebook users surveyed were spending less time on the website than six months ago, whereas only 20 percent were spending more.

The findings underscore investors’ concerns about Facebook’s money-making abilities that have pushed the stock down 29 percent since its chaotic initial public offering of shares last month.

While Facebook generated $3.7 billion (2.97 billion euros) in revenue last year, mostly from ads on its website, sales growth is slowing.

Consumers’ increasing use of smartphones to access Facebook has been a drag on the company’s revenue. It offers only limited advertising on the mobile version of its site and analysts say the company has yet to figure out the ideal way to make money from mobile users.

Who’s on?

The most frequent Facebook users are aged 18 to 34, according to the survey, with 60 percent of that group being daily users. Among people aged 55 years and above, 29 percent said they were daily users.

Of the 34 percent spending less time on the social network, their chief reason was that the site was “boring,” “not relevant” or “not useful”. Privacy concerns ranked third.

The survey has a “credibility interval” of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.