A father sued Facebook for failing to enforce its age restriction policies as his 11-year-old daughter used the social network site to upload sexual photos of herself and communicated with men on the website. The father says Facebook should have done more to enforce its age restrictions policies and is liable for the sexual predators his daughter was exposed to on the site. Facebook settled outside of court with the man for an undisclosed amount.
The Daily Mail reports that an unnamed man settled a lawsuit with Facebook outside of court for an undisclosed sum of money. The father was suing the social media giant for failure to ensure all users were over the age of 13 as is outlined by the website itself. The father says his 11-year-old daughter was able to create multiple Facebook accounts and used those account to contact men on the website. The girl also uploaded sexual photos to the website and was exposed to sexual predators according to her father’s account.
The reports indicate that when Facebook discovered that the girl was under the age of 13, they took down the profiles. However, her father says the damage was already done and that Facebook needs to do more to ensure that all users are over the age of 13. The man’s lawyer notes that the website has a “duty of care” to ensure the age restrictions are followed and that they could implement a “simple” age verification system via passports or other documents.
“My own personal view is that Facebook isn’t suitable for under-18s, but the company isn’t even able to uphold its own policy of keeping under-13s out. An age check, like asking for a passport number, would be a simple measure for Facebook to implement.”
According to the Sunday Times, Facebook currently allows parents to report any accounts of individuals under the age of 13 for review. In addition to the reporting feature, Facebook also encourages parents to exercise discretion on their own computers and oversee their kids’ internet use.
“We are generally forbidden by privacy laws against giving unauthorized access to someone who is not an account holder. We encourage parents to exercise any discretion they can on their own computers and in overseeing their kids’ internet use. Please talk to your kids, educate them about internet safety, and ask them to use our extensive privacy settings.”
Do you think Facebook has a “duty of care” to ensure all user are over the age of 13 despite offering parents directions on how to report an underage child’s profile? Or do you think parents should take personal responsibility of their child’s social media use?
[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Chris Jackson]