Facebook Is Getting Into Porn?

So apparently there are two new tags that have been added to the FBML. One is fb:18-plus and the other is fb-21-plus. The two new tags enable developers to limit specific content to those users that are over 21 and over 18, respectively. My initial reaction was that this has to be fake but after poking around the history of each of the wiki pages I noticed that Pete Bratach of Facebook had modified the page.

This is a massive move for Facebook and could be one of the most controversial moves. Start looking for gambling and porn to become prevalent on the site. That will be great: Nick O’Neill has just installed the “Top 10 Porn Movies” application. That is the last thing that I want showing up in my newsfeed. This is an incredible development to be honest and I am completely surprised to see Facebook enter this space.

Facebook has never been one to stray far from controversy though. I have personally received a number of complaints from Facebook users stating that they didn’t like that their children were exposed to gambling applications. It now appears that they will no longer need to worry about that thanks to the new fb:18-plus and fb:21-plus tags! I never thought I’d live to see this one. Thanks to Jesse Stay for pointing this one out to me.

Update
One person I spoke with suggested that this could be related to Facebook’s new payment system. You must be 18 to make purchases and 21 to make purchases of alcohol perhaps. I still think this is fishy. I have pinged Facbeook’s PR for more details and am still waiting on a response.

Update 2
I spoke with Caroline McCarthy tonight and she brought up a great point about these new tags. She suggested that the tags would be used to enable both alcohol companies as well as Army recruiters to advertise on the site. The new tags would provide comfort for the advertisers that don’t want their ads displayed on younger users’ profiles. The 21 plus could be use for gambling where it is legitimate in some parts of the world. Given that Facebook’s primary focus is monetization, this makes a lot of sense.