Social media

Facebook to 104-year-old grandma: Sorry we made you lie about your age

Feb. 21, 2013 at 11:07 AM ET

104-year-old Marguerite Joseph in an undated family photo. Joseph uses Facebook with help from Gail Marlow, her granddaughter.
Family Photo / WDIV.com
104-year-old Marguerite Joseph in an undated family photo. Joseph uses Facebook with help from Gail Marlow, her granddaughter.

For the last few years, 104-year-old Marguerite Joseph has been claiming that she's 99-years-old online. "I was actually born on April 19, 1908," she explains on her Facebook profile, "but Facebook wouldn't let me enter in a date that goes back that far."

TODAY has covered Facebook users over the age of 99 and their Facebook profiles displayed their correct dates of birth, so we asked the social network why Joseph isn't allowed to be honest about her age. "We've recently discovered an issue whereby some Facebook users may be unable to enter a birthday before 1910," a Facebook spokesperson told us. "We are working on a fix for this and we apologize for the inconvenience."

This odd and specific quirk means that Lee Stern and Florence Detlor — who are 102- and 101-years-old, respectively — are able to enter their actual dates of birth on Facebook while 104-year-old Joseph isn't.

The Internet-savvy grandmother has been a Facebook user since age 102, Gail Marlow, her granddaughter, told ClickOn Detroit. "All of our family members always asked how grandma was doing on my Facebook page," she said. "So I decided I would set up a page of her own so she could stay connected to her family in Canada."

As the elderly woman is legally blind and hard of hearing, ClickOn Detroit's Lauren Podell explains, her doting granddaughter helps Joseph use Facebook in her home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. "Due to my eyesight, my granddaughter Gail is in charge of all my postings and responses," Joseph's publicly visible Facebook profile confirms. "She reads me my public and private messages regularly."

While it sounds as if both Marlow and Joseph treasure the time they spend on Facebook together, attempting to select Joseph's birth year on the social network has been an unfortunately frustrating experience. "Every time I tried to change the settings to the right year, Facebook always came back with an unknown error message and would send us right back to a year she wasn’t born in," Marlow complained to ClickOn Detroit. "I would love to see her real age on Facebook, I mean in April she’s going to be 105. It’s special."

Based on Facebook's statement though, the social network might just give Joseph a little present this year: An accurate birth date on her profile.

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