In what is sure to set off a firestorm of privacy concerns, Anton Troianovski and Sjayndi Raice of the Wall Street Journal report Facebook is working on a way to attract younger users:
Facebook Inc. is developing technology that would allow children younger than 13 years old to use the social-networking site under parental supervision, a step that could help the company tap a new pool of users for revenue but also inflame privacy concerns.
Mechanisms being tested include connecting children’s accounts to their parents’ and controls that would allow parents to decide whom their kids can “friend” and what applications they can use, people who have spoken with Facebook executives about the technology said. The under-13 features could enable Facebook and its partners to charge parents for games and other entertainment accessed by their children, the people said.
This is a potential minefield for Facebook, which has always been under the privacy spotlight. If the report is true, it will be interesting to watch it play out.