Facebook: documents point 6-year-old children as a target audience

This Friday (29), the NBC News presented internal Facebook documents that demonstrated that the company was hiring employees to develop products targeted at children as young as six years old, with a view to expanding its user base. The documents were delivered to the congress by the former employee Frances Haugen.

In a post on the company’s internal blog, published on April 9 of this year, the author (as yet unknown) said that most internet products were not designed for children under 13 years old. Therefore, Facebook is said to be making a big investment in youth and has formed a corporate virtual team to make the experience safer and more private, for the well-being of the children and their families.

(Source: NBC News/Reproduction)Source: NBC News

The publication also presents diagrams illustrating the proposed new target age groups, with a group of children aged 6 to 9 years old, adolescents aged 10 to 12, another aged 13 to 15 and finally a group for young people aged 16 to 17 years — in addition to the adult audience that already consumes content on the conglomerate’s social networks.

“These five age groups can be used to define education, transparency, controls and standards that will meet the needs of young users,” the official wrote in the post.

Facebook and mental health

After research proves that Instagram is harmful to the mental health of teenage girls, critics of Facebook point out that the documents only demonstrate a standard of the company, which tries to attract young users as soon as possible.

James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media — a nonprofit that researches children’s relationship with the digital world — said Facebook needs to focus on cleaning up its existing platforms before trying to trap more kids in its addictive networks.

In response to coverage of the The Wall Street Journal about Facebook striving to attract younger generations, the company responded that it is due to high competition in the market. Still criticized the newspaper by saying that since their competitors are doing the same thing, it would be in their interest if Facebook didn’t do that job.

Children and the internet

Another diagram shows how the company currently deals with teenagers, following the restrictions of the Children’s Online Protection and Privacy Act (COPPA), which limits the target audience to 13-year-olds. In a note, the author says that COPPA treats people over 13 in the same way and asks that younger people not use its products.

On the other side, another image demonstrates the “future” that divides the five age groups into evolving zones. In the note, the author says that the intention was that features, standards, settings and education would be scaled by age and stage.

(Source: NBC News/Reproduction)(Source: NBC News/Reproduction)Source: NBC News

In reply to NBC NewsJosh Golin, executive director of Fairplay, said the documents make it clear that rather than working to make its platforms safer and less harmful, Facebook’s priority is to attract younger children and create a stream of lifetime users from its products.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced in September the interruption of the development of Instagram Youth, focused on children under 13, with the justification that the company intends to keep the project, but with the advice of parents, researchers and experts.

Facebook did not comment on whether the company continues to hire professionals for these positions and an analysis of job listings did not show results for these positions.


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