Xanga.com, a social network / weblogging platform boasting around 25 million members has agreed to pay a $1 million dollar fine for failing to alert parents whenever their child created a profile on their site.
(International Herald Tribune) The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that Xanga.com Inc., a social networking Web site, had agreed to pay a $1 million (‘‚¬790,000) civil penalty for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
According to the FTC, the company “collected, used and disclosed personal information from children under the age of 13 without first notifying parents and obtaining their consent.”
Although social networking sites should take steps to protect minors online, forcing them to contact their guardians is probably easier said then done.
Requiring them to notify a child’s parent only works if the kid provides the correct information and not all kids are as forth coming with that information, especially in this day and age.
Although we all want to keep our kids safe, parents should probably take a more active role in monitering the lives of their kids instead of relying on Uncle Sam to slap a seven figure fine on an internet company.
If the FTC continues to follow this policy across the board, we may see the end of social networks as we know it (at least in America that is).