Once you have more than 900 million friends, it’s difficult to keep making more.
More than 26% of the global population is under age 15. If Facebook could lure nearly one out of every seven of them, as it has with the world’s total population, that could mean another 250 million or more friends. Clearly, it would put the social network over the billion mark — for all the screaming headlines that’s worth — but for what?
Facebook is exploring letting children join the network.
Facebook has changed the global conversation. However, that conversation will not change much more when an increasing number of posts just say “Waa!” Celebrity gossip might expand a little to include Barney, SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer. And more people will post their baby pictures online, because that’s all they’ve got.
“The company appears to be doing whatever it takes to… impress spooked shareholders,” said James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, in a statement. “What’s next? Facebook for toddlers?”
Facebook will counter its critics by saying kids under age 13 are sneaking onto Facebook anyway, so it simply must find a way to let them join legally. If the liquor-store lobby could have succeeded with this line, a beer bottle would come with a nipple.
A large percentage of adults can’t handle alcohol. A certain percentage can’t handle Facebook, either. Ruined marriages and destroyed careers are just some of the perils of putting too much information online. Soon the risks may include getting kicked out of kindergarten for starting a popular post that claims the teacher is a poopy-head.
A parent’s guide to kids on social media
As Facebook is developing ways to let kids use its social network, Anton Troianovski presents tips for parents. Photo: Getty Images.
Rather than target children, it would be better for Facebook to admit that its initial public offering has outpaced the sucker birth-rate. There aren’t many more buyers for Facebook stock. And there aren’t many more adults interested in a Facebook account. Facebook captured them all, then it brilliantly went public near the top of its growth curve.
Facebook fell below $26 briefly on Tuesday, and a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst, Carlos Kirjner, called for a $25 price target, as if maybe that could be the bottom. The stock had hit a pump-and-dump high of $45 a share on its first day of trading, May 18.
Be happy if you’re not holding this stock with a wait-and-see strategy. It could be worth anything, or nothing, for all anyone knows, and it could take years to find out.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past that creating a Facebook platform for kids is about early education. It will unavoidably be more about early indoctrination.
I remember when one of the worst trends in the media was the advertising that ran between Saturday morning cartoons. They inspired generations of overconsumption, forcing both parents into the workplace to keep pace with the rising gluttony rate.
Now, those kids are grown and see nothing nefarious about pummeling children with as much commercial messaging as possible, even as the world turns through one debt crisis after the next and most people are fatter than ever.
Facebook might as well stuff sugary cereal boxes with plastic prizes: “Always after me Lucky Charms.” “I’m Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.” “They’re Great!” “Silly, Rabbit…”
No, don’t use that one. Rabbits multiply. Maybe Facebook can get rabbits online, too.
- Facebook toying with opening site to kids under 13 (canada.com)
- Kids could someday get on Facebook, without lying (news.com.au)
- Facebook hits new low after bearish view from Bernstein (business.financialpost.com)
- Facebook Developing Technology to Let Kids Under 13 Use Facebook (shoppingblog.com)
- Facebook To Allow Kids Under 13? (personalliberty.com)
- A kid-friendly Facebook possible? Desirable? (sfgate.com)
- Facebook explores access for kids under age 13 (macdailynews.com)
- Facebook Downgraded to “Underperform” by Stanford Bernstein (valuewalk.com)