Pedo* Proofing Facebook.

One of my Facebook based Farmville neighbours is only 9
years old. She’s located in an ex-soviet bloc country in Europe
and she likes to use me for English practice.

I reply in monosyllabic polite manner to her simple
questions about what is Australia
like and today’s weather forecast.


No-one obviously has told her of the risk of “chatting” to
old men.


The Facebook Terms and Conditions state that you have to be
13 years old.


But when the cutsie games on there are aimed at seven year
olds and above, it’s obvious that mum registers and lets the kids loose.


In fact my “9 year old” neighbour is not the only young un –
but she is the only unsupervised one that I am aware of.

Yet if we analyse my (under 13) neighbour quota and apply it
to Farmville only – there are 2,181,818.2
 potential victims in Farmville alone, innocently
playing a child’s game.


I have hesitated to blog about this before because of the
magnitude of the problem and the difficulty of screening for undesirables –
especially when it’s so easy to make a fake Facebook account.


However, today, I was sent this article about a social
networking Gaydar outing algorithm that could equally be applied (with some
criminal profiling material) to the problem of keeping our young ones safe and
sound online.


Facebook – if you are reading this – ring these guys…  


Carter Jernigan and Behram Mistree @ MIT.




Hat-tip: To Paul Ryan at
September 23, 2009




Project ‘Gaydar’

At MIT, an experiment identifies which students are gay,
raising new questions about online privacy


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