back to article MPs to grill Facebook: You're going to let our teens do WHAT?

Britain's MPs are set to grill Facebook after the free content ad network confirmed last week it would modify controls on the service to allow teens to share posts and photos with a much larger audience than they had done before. The move inevitably sparked concerns about the safety of youngsters online, with children's …

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A modest proposal

I propose that Children under the age of 25 are kept in a eunuch-supervised-CCTV-clad Faraday's cage in the dark, wearing sheet-metal burqas, welding gloves, non-removable earplugs and feed-through gags.

This might ensure their purity.

Hitting on Facebook for this policy is like pissing in an ocean of piss. There's 1000's of other sites with no policies at all.

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Re: A modest proposal

No doubt they said that about the first school that banned adults from just popping in to use the toilels.

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Re: A modest proposal

But still allow them to get married or join the army at 16.

But their parents won't be allowed to put a picture of them on the top of the telly until they are at least 39

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The easiest way to solve this would be to link Facebook accounts to National ID schemes.

Although I joke, my money says some dipshit politician proposes it. More than a few VC proposals I see every year propose age validation services but every single one is eventually tied to your SSN, somewhere. The politically minded in the group love the idea, but so far reason has prevailed. I'm not sure that will always be the case.

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Im sure facebook will have a "fundraiser" with many MPs in attendance (to promote their "charities" of course). That should let things slide for a while.

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"culture, media and sport select committee chairman John Whittingdale said he would be asking Facebook to appear before MPs"

I hope Facebook turns round and says not coming just to make it clear where the balance of power lies.

Facebook has all the power, the MPs have comparatively none. What are they going to do? Legislate? And when Facebook ignores that? What political party in this country would have the balls to ban Facebook in the UK? Facebook not only has the power to shove any message in front of all UK users it can even personalize that message based on personality type which it gleans from user data. MPs have no chance.

I propose that facebook announces a new feature where children can hide their accounts from their parents. Also a "Kiddie Search" button that allows adults to friend kids easier. Facebook should totally troll the UK government and the mumsnet types.

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tut tut...... naughty step for you.

Facebook have no power as you put it, they can easily be banned, have their taxes redone, have laws enacted on them etc etc.

And just so you think about it, it would not be a goevernment policy to do it but a multi party one.

Facebook need tobe careful or they could end up facing the EU and not just the UK over this sort of thing then it would be not goevernments but commitees after them.....

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Re: tut tut...... naughty step for you.

I expect that any party that did that would get a severe thrashing at the next election

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Anonymous Coward

The advertisers could be lent on to encourage them to make grumbly noises to Facebook.

The prospect of loss of revenue could cause Facebook to reconsider.

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"... What are they going to do?"

Get the City of London Police to send Facebook a demand to change it back?

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Anonymous Coward

Just so you understand

" I hope Facebook turns round..."

Just so you fully understand the reality of this situation:

Nobody cares what you think.

The government has already started the investigation and, if Facebook wishes to not reply to the requests, they will have a choice of either being forced to or face sanctions.

The new Facebook EULA upsurps parental consent by granting automatic approval of new policies to minors simply by the act of the minor being present on their systems. For minors, jurisdictions have already decided that the physical actions of a minor do not equate to automatic parental approval of said action and, therefore, Facebook is in violation of almost all jurisdictional precedent. Facebook is not the legal guardian of their underage users and has no right to grant automatic approval to a minor for legal contracts.

It is damn well about time that you free market morons realize "where the power is": it is with THE PEOPLE, and not simply where the money lies. If you think that anyone has the right to play fast and loose with rights, laws or freedoms simply because they are currently in a position to make a profit by doing so, we will slap you in jail along with the rest of these abusers.

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Re: tut tut...... naughty step for you.

I suspect that one one will actually give a rats arse. For example all those that supported SOPA got increased majorities at the last US elections. Most people don't care about any of it.

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Re: Just so you understand

Awww... It's sweet you think we still have a voice.

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Re: Just so you understand

The power of owning a site like facebook goes beyond money. In fact greed for money often reduces power the owners wield. Both through distracting them and by causing the owners to become answerable to third parties like advertisers and shareholders.

Imagine if Facebook had not floated and wasn't bothered with generating huge amounts of cash. Now say the owner wanted to "modify controls on the service to allow teens to share posts and photos with a much larger audience than they had done before". if the owner really wants to do that, what are you going to do to stop them?

Get MPs to draft some law? Won't work, the owner is a US citizen. You could possibly arrest him if he came over here, but perhaps he has no intention of coming here.

The owner always has a trump card. If piddling officials in a country like the UK are bothering them too much, the owner can threaten to wipe all user accounts in that country. Some mealy mouthed note when users try to login:

"Notice for all UK users: due to recent legal threats in the UK we have been forced to freeze all UK accounts. Please contact your elected representatives to make them see sense. If this matter is not resolved within 30 days, all UK accounts will be deleted and access to the UK blocked."

Imagine the pandemonium if joe public logged in to find a message like that. You could say it's a risk, what if the public sided with the MPs and turned against the site? But how sure are you it would work like that? It's interesting that so far only capitalists have created these sites (twitter, facebook, etc). We haven't had any ideological owners who wield the power for some ideological agenda, or just an agenda of trolling politicians. Perhaps such people would never get in such a position in the first place. but I wonder. What I find interesting is how would such people ever be ousted? Property laws defend their control of their site no matter how popular it gets, and the international nature of the internet shelters them. They would be like little mini dictators.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just so you understand

@nomnom om - i think you over-estimate the care factor. People won't complain en-masse because frankly, those that vote on issues din't really give a shit about facebook.

You also underestimate the effect of a MP's collective self interest. Try a stunt like you suggested and I pretty much guarantee the conversation will quickly turn to ' right, lets show these pricks who's in chatge around here'.

The second thing to happen is someone would set up a competing service. Remember that most friend circles are narrow - you don't really need a global system.

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Re: Just so you understand

In fact this should be true of everything under18s do.

They shouldn't be allowed to take part in any legal contract without explicit parental consent.

That will at least keep the little scrotes out of shops, and off buses unless they are accompanied at all times by a parent to agree the the T&C

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Re: Just so you understand

The 'Power of The People', that's cool. I remember college too!

While immense power does exist with 'The People' it is nearly impossible to focus it toward any given goal. A decent analogue is harnessing the tides. Vast, nearly limitless power exists in the tides but too many other factors prevent that power from being used very effectively.

'People Power' is too broad, and actual output is diminished in direct proportion to the amount of communication amongst the people: There are simply too many ideas and opinions. The output of money on the other hand is highly focused and nearly immune to opinion.

It is unfortunate that it's that way, but it is that way. Once every couple hundred years a leader comes along who can organize a, comparatively, small group of people into a useful force, but they are rare and nearly always power hungry madmen who have to be destroyed. A small, focused, group with many resources will always prove more powerful in the end than the capricious desires of the masses.

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There was a reason facebook didn't allow this before - what changed?

The old rule was just a scam to get widespread facebook acceptance, and calm parental fears, but now they are powerful and they can go for your kids!

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Because kids are leaving facebook in droves because unlike instagram and a host of other sites it doesn't let them freely publish pictures.

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Anonymous Coward

"Britain's MPs are set to grill Facebook after the free content ad network confirmed last week it would modify controls on the service to allow teens to share posts and photos with a much larger audience than they had done before.

The move inevitably sparked concerns about the safety of youngsters online, with children's charities and critics arguing that many 13- to 17-year-olds would fail to understand the implications of making posts viewable to anyone with a Facebook account."

Want to keep your kids safe? DON'T LET THEM USE FAKEBOOK!

It's the "council estate" of the internet!

I'd immediately send in social services to families that allow this to happen to their youth.

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Hosts

www.facebook.com 127.0.0.1

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free content ad network

Slightly off topic, I know. But I keep seeing this on El Reg. Surely it should be content free ad network?

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It makes you wonder whether it should be down to the site owners to set policy's like this at all.

Considering the information on people on facebook is so extensive, I would expect that a government team for such vast sites should exist in the first place.

It should be reacting to requests to change the policy's, not reacting after they are pushed through!!

I mean, my driving license means the DVLA has all my info, if they decided to share it with the world (drivebook lol) they are bound by the UK governments policys - so why shouldn't facebook?

Our info, our policys.

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Trollface

The difference is that, for the DVLA, the government asked you for your info and is thus responsible for it, and you cannot do without it if you need to drive a car.

Facebook, on the other hand, didn't ask you for anything and you don't need it for anything. You chose to log on, creat a profile and give whatever it is you put in there, and in doing so, became Zucky's bitch.

And Zucky don't ask nobody nuthin'.

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Childcatcher

@ Jerky Jerk face -

DVLA bound by policies, why shouldn't Facebook be?

Because the RSPCA isn't either. They can request your data on a whim and do whatever they like with it, because they're not a government agent. Even though they call their people 'Officers' and just assume executive rights.

Proper evil lot.

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Rob

DVLA have already screwed you

The DVLA already allows your info to be passed on whether you like it or not, there is no opt out box in any of there forms.

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Now that MP's have stepped in to fix the problem

This whole thing should be cleared up nice and sharpish.

I'm sure that the Right Honourable Members of Parliament will tackle this with the usual skill and aptitude that they've displayed with every other IT related issue.

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Facepalm

Another waste of space MP trolling for headlines.

Facebook should tell them to shove their 'invitation'.

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Anonymous Coward

First they claimed internet porn was bad for children and adults alike

then they claimed Facebook is a danger to children.

then they claim Facebook is a heaven for sexual predators of all ages and thus is also bad for adults.

and finally they decided to ban the internet.

What they're saying from their arse is of course what they're thinking in reality. They just think the internet is dangerous because it liberates people's mind too much and can be used to spread what they deem as dangerous ideas. Hence the reason they're getting all comfy with the Chinese now to learn a thing or two about how they manage to suppress so many people.

Apparently, the Springtime of the Peoples wasn't enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe they can ask why Facebook are not taking down material that is totally offensive - namely the beheading videos which they have said can stay because they do not glorify violence

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WTF?

@ac 21:57

Really ?

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WTF?

@me

I seem to have forgotten internet forum rule no 1

Search for the answer before asking the question.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24608499

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MPs always thinking of the children

Shouldn't something be done about that?

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Above the Law & Common Sense

There are two issues:

1: Anyone can setup an account & lie about their age. This is perpetuated by idiotic parents who permit their children to do this. There simply has to be some sort of legally binding age verification that ties the user to an account. This is next to impossible if parents then setup account for minors. We are then back to iris or fingerprint verification. Responsible parents and children will sort this out. The majority will not. This single biggest concern is that as I understand it, the default makes the profile visible.

2: Facebook in particular does not give a stuff about consent, or decency. If they did they would take down vast amounts of posts and images long before they were published. They simply do not care, prinicapally because sick people will then try to find these posts. increasing Facebook's revenues. There will never be enough people offended enough to close their accounts to make even the slightest dent in usage. Companies are very unlikely to remove advertising because overall, it is probably not enough for them to worry about.

Facebook and Zuckberg can do what ever they like & unless they go so extreme as to cause a problem to a global company or the American politcal system, nothing will change. It is in MZ's words "Free speech".

Unfortunately the term "Free speech" is now used to justifiy huge amounts of frankly questionable decision on leaking information or posting inappropriate pictures.

I wonder what the public reaction would have been the instant video/pictures/post woudl have been if graphic images from the following had been posted, not what just reached the newspapers:

Lady Dianna Spencer's ill fated crash in Paris

Body parts of Americans from the World Trade Centre

Bloody Sunday in Norther Ireland

Concorde Crash in France

MP Airey Neave blowin up by the IRA in London

Regents Park bandstand bomb.

The sad thing is that I suspect there would be a howl of outrage and increased traffic as it appears that developed Western culture now expects this a form entertainment. Facebook and the like are only delivering what the majority of the so called "developed world" wants. With the global reach using the Internet, policing this content is simply impossible as there is no single body with any power to enforce it. There is so much money sloshing about that the fines that may be levied are just operating overheads.

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