NEW YORK — Though Facebook bans children under 13, millions of them have profiles on the site by lying about their age.
The company is now testing ways to allow those kids to participate without needing to lie. This would likely be under parental supervision, such as by connecting children’s accounts to their parents’ accounts.
Like many other online services, Facebook prohibits kids under 13 because federal law requires companies to obtain parental consent if they want to collect information about those children.
Such information collection is central to Facebook. Every photo or status update a kid posts on Facebook could count as information collection. Many companies consider the parental-consent requirement too burdensome, so they simply ban all children under 13 instead.
Few details are available on the nature of Facebook’s tests, which The Wall Street Journal reported on in Monday’s editions. Relaxing the ban on younger children could be a long way off, or never get implemented, as happens with many features that Facebook tests.
The report comes just two weeks after Facebook began trading stock as a public company.