Facebook May Face Age Restrictions in Australia

Australian state and federal attorney generals want stricter enforcement of Facebook's minimum age requirements.

Australian state and federal attorney generals want stricter enforcement of Facebook’s minimum age requirements. The law enforcement officials will also determine whether parents should have access to their children’s pages in order to patrol its contents.

Currently, 10 million Aussies, nearly half of the country’s population, use Facebook. The social networking site’s rules state that a user be at least 13 when signing up but the site has limited means of enforcing the age requirement.

A few proposals are now being reviewed include mandating that a youth provide proof of age when opening up a Facebook account.

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau told the Australian Associated Press:

Age verification is something that various platforms deal with and I can’t see why it should be beyond the wit of Facebook to do the same thing, if that was the solution people wanted. I think people need to understand that just because they are operating in the virtual world, that is on the internet, it does not mean that there should not be boundaries or rules or standards of behaviour. Exactly how those boundaries and rules should be applied and enforced is a matter that we need to discuss.

The two-day sessions will also cover the impact that Facebook has had on legal cases such as some recent high court decisions and the much-debated topic of supression — the publishing on a site such as Facebook of the name of an accused whose identity is suppressed, could prejudice a fair trial and prevent justice being done.

These sessions in Australia could set an interesting example for lawmakers in the U.S . and elsewhere.

Readers, do you think Australia’s proposals for regulating Facebook ought to become laws worldwide?