The Federal Trade Commission may allow Facebook to better understand how it can advertise to children after the social network asked for an amendment to the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) bill.
Under the current wording of COPPA most regulations are specifically geared towards child centric websites such as Club Penguin.
COPPA is largely the reason that Facebook does not allow children under 13 to sign up for the social network. In order to advertise to the under 13 crowd Facebook would be required to receive parental consent before collection information about a child under 13-years-old.
Under the FTC proposal apps, games and online ad networks would be added to the list of restricted platforms.
The proposal would allow websites to register users under 13 years old but they would not be able to track children’s internet behavior and then advertise ads relevant to the child’s interest.
Facebook has asked that the FTC abandon its bid for a more far reaching COPPA without clarifying its statements. Facebook specifically wants the FTC to clarify that websites will still be permitted to show first-party advertisements to children. Facebook notes that the FTC has allowed first-party ads under COPPA and that its control of first-party ads are more closely monitored than third-party offerings.
In its filing Facebook writes:
“The Commission emphasized in its report that it is generally consistent with the context of an interaction for a company to use data collected during first-party interactions for marketing purposes.
It then distinguished marketing based on data collected as a third party, which the Commission argued was outside of the generally understood context of a consumer’s interaction. The Commission should make that understanding explicit in the COPPA Rule by expressly including first-party advertising under the “internal operations” rubric. This clarification further supports the balance created between the Significant demand for free, advertising-supported services, and the expected tailoring of those services.”
Facebook it should be noted supports COPPA but wants to ensure proper advertising practices will allow for their intended use in the future.