Facebook’s current age minimum doesn’t appear to be working — 7.5 million kids under 13 are using the site anyway, and 5 million of them are 11 or younger.
So the company’s Chief Executive Officer thinks this rule needs to change at some point.
Mark Zuckerberg brought this up during a NewSchools Summit in Burlingame, Calif. earlier in the week.
He explained that Facebook’s age minimum to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. COPPA doesn’t allow websites that gather data about users to sign on members under the age of 13.
Facebook collects information about its users as part of the sign-up process. But with kids under 13 lying about their age when signing up, they’re supplying the social network with data about themselves anyway.
Fortune quoted Zuckerberg telling the summit audience that eventually he’d like to see Facebook lobby for changes in COPPA or otherwise figure out how to let kids under 13 use Facebook more honestly and in compliance with the law:
Education is clearly the biggest thing that will drive how the economy improves over the long term. We spend a lot of time talking about this… In the future, software and technology will enable people to learn a lot from their fellow students… That will be a fight we take on at some point. My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age…. Because of the restrictions we haven’t even begun this learning process… If they’re lifted then we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger kids] are safe…
How might Facebook best go about enabling kids under 13 to use the social network in an honest and legal way?