Facebook Inc. (FB) Makes Case for Child Privacy Exemption

Facebook Inc.Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has been embroiled in various privacy issues over recent months, especially in Europe. But now the company is facing some privacy issues in the U.S., and a federal law regarding privacy of children on the Internet has led Facebook to appeal to the Federal Trade Commission for a certain level of relief from the requirements of the law.

How this will go over with investors like billionaire fund manager George Soros of Soros Fund Management remains to be seen – how would this law affect Facebook user numbers and could Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) get an exemption from federal privacy regulations?

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) reportedly sent a 20-page letter to the FTC expressing concerns, if not objections, about the revised version of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which would stipulate (if the revised version passes Congress and is signed by the President) that any Web site that  collects personal data about users must receive written parental permission if the child is under the age of 13. In addition, the revisions would apply the rules to those sites that use “cookies” to track users’ browsing history – again, if the user is under 13, the web sites would need parental permission to track the young user as he or she surfs the Web.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) does not allow children under 13 to create accounts on its site, but research has found that about 5-6 million young people have accounts on Facebook, most of whom got help/permission from their parents. Facebook inc. (FB) does claim to expunge its site of about 80,000 such underage pages each year.

However, the main point of the letter written by Facebook inc. (NASDAQ:FB) had to do with free speech in the form of the ubiquitous “Like” button.  The company has argued incessantly that a “like” is protected free speech, and preventing a user from using the “like” button would constitute a constitutional free-speech infringement. Also, Facebook Inc. (FB) contends that it does not have control over users’ abilities to use social plug-ins like “like” buttons featured on other sites, and thus should not be held liable under COPPA.

In the letter, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) wrote, “A government regulation that restricts teens’ ability to engage in protected speech — as the proposed Coppa Rule would do — raises issues under the First Amendment.”

What do you think? Does Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) have a point? Do children under 13 have a constitutional right to free speech? Does a “like” button constitute an expression of that right?

Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

The Highest Grossing Musicals on Broadway

The Most Successful Reality TV Stars

Cheapest Cities to Visit in the US

Most Expensive Summer Camps

Most Expensive Animals in the World

Most Expensive Specialty Crops in the World

Movies That Took Ages to Make

The Longest Hollywood Films Ever Made

Most Expensive Concert Stages

The Richest Bands of all Time

10 Most Corrupt Countries 2013 List

10 Countries with the Highest Quality of Life Index

Most Expensive Mattresses in the World

5 Smallest Countries by Land Area

The Ultimate Heartbreak Songs

Richest Teenagers in the World

10 Most Haunted Places in America

10 Best Places to Retire in Florida East Coast

Top 10 Places to See Before You Die

Top 8 Countries in the World Where Justice Prevails

10 Richest States in America

15 Wealthiest Countries in the World

Richest Singers in the World

Most Expensive Tasting Menu in New York City

Most Expensive Baby Items in the World

Most Expensive Hotel Suites in Vegas

Most Expensive Brunch in New York City

Most Expensive Beef Cuts in the World

25 Best Colleges to Get a Job

Top 10 US Supermarkets

The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in the World to Visit

Most Expensive Xbox Games

Top 11 Cities Where Billionaires Live

Top 10 Most Charitable Companies in America

Most Expensive Seafood in the World

The 10 Wildest Conspiracy Theories

The 10 Best Job Markets in the US

Top 10 Accounting Scandals of All Time

The 25 Biggest Cities in the World

Top 10 Best Paying Virtual Jobs

Most Expensive Leather Shoes in the World

Top 6 Things to Buy in March

The 10 Most Stressful Jobs in America – 2014 List

Top 10 Jobs for Introverted People

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations in the World

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in the World

Most Expensive Day-Care in New York City

The 10 Cheapest Places to Retire Abroad

Top 10 Most Expensive Luxury Cars in the World – 2014

Killer Small Business Ideas

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!