Facebook: We ban 20,000 children a day

March 22, 2011 at 2:01 PM ET

If you're under age 13, you're "forbidden" from using Facebook. But of course, some kids 12 and younger do, and Facebook says every day it removes 20,000 under-age visitors from the site.

Hard to know whether that's the tip of the iceberg, or the crash of the Titanic against one. "It's not perfect," said Mozelle Thompson, Facebook's chief privacy adviser, testifying before the Australian parliament's cyber-safety committee. "There are people who lie. There are people who are under 13" accessing the social networking site.

"Facebook removes 20,000 people a day, people who are underage."

Thompson, formerly a commissioner on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, said that in Australia, Facebook will soon hire an Australian to deal with "policy issues," according to the Australian Daily Telegraph.

Facebook does have tools for parents and others to use in dealing with underage children on the site. Among them are Facebook's  "Report An Underage Child" page,  "How do I report a child under the age of 13?" page, and the site's Help Center area, where privacy issues and information for parents are addressed.

Among the issues addressed in one of the "privacy" sections of the Help Center is "How do I request the removal of an image of my child?" a big concern with sexting and cyberbullying rife. Facebook says:

You can report an abusive photo or video by using the "Report" links located near most pieces of content on the Facebook to report offensive material.

If you have a copyright complaint in any jurisdiction, you can find more information here.

If your child is between the ages of 13 and 18, we will not be able to assist you directly, unless required by law. Please advise your child to log in to their own Facebook account and visit the Help Center. They can take the appropriate steps from here to receive additional support.

If your child is under the age of 13, and you would like to request the removal of a photo containing an image of them, please do so here.

If your child is under the age of 13, and you would like to request the removal of non-photo content (i.e., a video) containing an image of them, please do so here.

We will remove a photo of your child that you report to us provided that your child is pictured in the photo, is under 13 years old, and you have filled out the appropriate contact form in its entirety.

Please be aware that we are only able to take action on reports that come from a parent or legal guardian of the child pictured in the reported content. If you are not a parent or legal guardian of the child pictured in the content you wish to report, please advise the appropriate parties to view this page and make the request.

The rules and advice, however, didn't do much to help a mother in Australia earlier this year, whose 12-year-old daughter was being stalked and harassed on the site, after the mother discovered her under-age child was on Facebook. She said was unable to get any response from Facebook.

Since then, a Facebook spokesperson told that the site was aware of this case and was working closely with local law enforcement. 

— Via TheNextWeb

More about Facebook:

 Check out Technolog on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Suzanne Choney, who thinks there are some child-like adults who should not be on Facebook. But that's another story.