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By 27 May 2011 | Categories: news

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Speaking at a recently held summit on innovation and teaching in Newark, New Jersey, billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that he'd like Facebook's age restrictions to be lifted “at some point”.

The popular social networking site doesn't allow people under the age of 13 to have an account on the site, dictated by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal law in the United States. This legislation differs from country to country, but Facebook's terms and conditions bars under-13s as well.

According to the Telegraph, Zuckerberg claimed that the educational benefits of using Facebook were great enough that children should be allowed to visit. “My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age,” said Zuckerberg. “Because of the restrictions we haven't even begun this learning process. If they're lifted then we'd start to learn what works.”

The website has however been accused of a number of privacy breaches in the past, as well as being criticised for not preventing children from using the site. Facebook deletes around 20 000 underage accounts everyday.

More serious concerns have been raised around how the site can protect underage users though, with paedophiles in the past having contacted children through the site.

Online bullying has also been a cause for concern, with Facebook recently introducing tougher privacy controls for underage users, as well as promoting programmes to talk with teachers.

A Facebook spokesman said that, “Facebook is currently designed for two age groups, 13-18 year olds and 18 and up. We provide extensive safety and privacy controls based on the age provided. However, recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to implement age restrictions on the Internet and that there is no single solution to ensuring younger children don’t circumvent a system or lie about their age. We agree with safety experts that communication between parents or guardians and kids about their use of the Internet is vital.”

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