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Facebook boots 20,000 users per day, some for being underage

Facebook has revealed that it removes about 20,000 accounts per day for violating the social network’s policies. Some of those accounts are removed because their owners are underage. Facebook requires that a person be aged 13 or older in order to register for an account.

Facebook’s chief privacy adviser Mozelle Thompson made the announcement during a meeting with the Australian Parliament’s cyber-safety committee. While Facebook does have a mechanism in place to detect when a child might be lying about their age, Thompson conceded, “it’s not a perfect.”

Thompson initially said that all 20,000 of the accounts removed daily belonged to underage users. However, Facebook has released a statement that said that it removes 20,000 accounts per day for a variety of infractions — not just for underage use alone.

“At Facebook, we take safety very seriously and we were pleased to participate in a hearing in Australia to talk about our safety policies, practices and systems,” the company said in a statement to PC Magazine. “As we explained in the hearing, these efforts include removing numerous accounts everyday for activities including spamming, posting inappropriate content, and violating age restrictions.”

Infractions that could get a user booted include spamming, posting inappropriate content and, of course, being eight and posing as 13 a year old.  Facebook didn’t reveal it’s system for detecting users who have created an account by falsifying their age.

According to a study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, nearly half of all 12 year olds in the U.S. are using social networking sites. That figure is not likely to sit well with regulators in the U.S. and abroad. Facebook has already said that it plans to hire an Australian-based employee to deal specifically with “policy issues,” which would certainly include underage access.

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