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Posted at 5:58 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Facebook debating contact information request for minors

By Cecilia Kang

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Facebook has told lawmakers it is debating whether to allow third-party applications to request contact information about minors.

Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.) asked the social network company to explain how third-party applications -- such as the game Farmville -- get contact information about users, after complaints by privacy groups and some users last fall over the practice.

Facebook vice president of global policy, Marne Levine, told the lawmakers in a letter last week that the company had allowed applications on the site to request contact information. It later suspended that program when it appeared the move "was causing some degree of concern among users."

The company said it is still evaluating whether it will allow the practice of contact information requests. And it appeared to place special scrutiny on whether apps can ask for contact information from children, too.

"Facebook considers risks to minors in all its new product features, and this is no exception, as we are actively considering whether to enable applications to request contact information from minors at all," Levin said. The firm sets an age minimum of 13 for users.

By Cecilia Kang  | February 28, 2011; 5:58 PM ET
Categories:  Facebook  
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Posted by: zhenge122 | March 1, 2011 2:24 AM | Report abuse

We're in the middle of the second great depression, and Newt wants everyone to be beggared & to starve the poor, give up on public education, and make things worse as a matter of principle. The man is an idiot. He has no chance of winning the nomination.

Posted by: Nymous | March 1, 2011 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Will someone at WashingtonPost.com please reprogram the way "report abuse" works in this section of the site? In comments for the print edition articles, "report abuse" brings up a little checklist so it's quicker and easier to report spam, such as the first two messages here. (And a third message about Newt Gingrich, which is irrelevent to Facebook privacy issues for minors.) Thank you. And please delete this after you've passed it on to someone who can at least bring this up at a virtual staff meeting.

Posted by: hoganandbligh | March 1, 2011 6:50 AM | Report abuse

I am a increasingly frustrated parent. I am getting close to just yanking my family off of social media as this is really starting to get out of hand with Facebook and its blatant disrespect for what its users want to keep private. However, then I look like the "old curmudgeon" afraid of technology.

This is getting ridiculous! Facebook's disregard for users' privacy coupled with how everything is trending towards becoming more and more "location aware" (to borrow from the new lexicon that is currently being shoved down our throats) will lead to some unintended consequences. Consider cases of "twitter burglaries" or "facebook bandits" who troll status updates and location updates or check-ins looking for "going to movies" or otherwise not home and vulnerable to burglary type information. also, a female's "working late again :( " update plus her location on a map shared with her social media "friends"could potentially land her in a bad situation as well. And now, my daughter is telling me how people can now post FAKE LOCATION information to facebook, twitter, foursquare etc. with something called gps cloak on her smartphone. I used to at least be able to trust that type of information and have some sort of sense as to the whereabout of my family though some of these social media sites, but now that is called into question. somehow it seems as if all this technological advancement is making harder to keep tabs on our children while at the same time put us in that fishbowl situation where nothing is private......

Posted by: Concerned4myKids | March 2, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

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