Facebook Gets Freaky

Mark Zuckerberg wants to get to know your kids.

Specifically, he wants to get to know your primary-school-aged children (after all, he already knows more about your teenager than you do).

Hang on, isn’t Facebook restricted to people who are at least 13 years old?

Yes it is. In 1998 the US Congress passed laws that restricted children under the age of 13 from giving out their personal information without their parents’ permission. The cost of complying with these laws meant that most platforms put it in the ‘too hard basket’.

Until now.

This week Facebook introduced ‘Messenger Kids’, for children aged 6 to 12.

Zuckerberg says it’s totally not about trying to lock little kids into using his platform. Rather, he’s motivated by wanting to help parents keep their kids safe online. Messenger Kids will be advertising free (for now), and the app has built-in parental controls.

Yes, the billionaire boy wonder is here to help you. True dinks!

Well, let’s take a look at that.

Earlier this year a 23-page Facebook report marked ‘Confidential: Internal Only’ was leaked to The Australian.

In the report, Facebook promised advertisers the ability to track a teen’s emotions: “By monitoring posts, pictures, interactions and internet activity in real-time, Facebook can work out when young people feel ‘stressed’, ‘defeated’, ‘overwhelmed’, ‘anxious’, ‘nervous’, ‘stupid’, ‘silly’, ‘useless’, and a ‘failure’.”

This is truly the golden age of advertising!

Facebook advertisers can target that anorexic girl right at the very moment she truly hates herself.

For its part, the social media giant issued a public statement about the leaked report saying, “Facebook does not offer tools to target people based on their emotional state”.

Yet.

But as the old saying goes, if you don’t pay for the product — you are the product.

My view?

Give a bunch of my son’s little mates a backyard-built billycart and a hill that my wife has already warned me is “way too steep”, and these kids will get all the ‘likes’ and ‘LOLs’ they need. (Besides, they have the rest of their lives to learn to hate themselves, engage in superficial online relationships, and have billycart envy.)

The simple reason Facebook is worth $511 billion is that you and I hand them our private data. Even better, we devote an average 250 hours per person per year to updating our personal data for their advertisers!

Now parents have to decide whether or not they want to sign up their kids to work for Zuckerberg’s advertising machine.

Tread Your Own Path!