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Markey Pans Facebook Answers on COPPA and Kids

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said he is not satisfied with Facebook's answers to questions about children's online privacy.

The senator had asked Facebook, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica breach, not to place ads in social media offerings to children, and to promise not to share children's information with target marketers once those children reach 13.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which Markey was instrumental in drafting, only covers children up to 12 years old. 

Related: House E&C Leaders Hammer Facebook

According to Markey, Facebook would not rule out including ads in its Messenger Kids offering and would not promise not to share information from kids over 12, though it did tell him it would not automatically share that data with advertisers once kids turn 13.

Markey was not assuaged. 

“Our youngest and most vulnerable Americans should be able to navigate the digital world without being bombarded by advertisements at every turn,” he said. “I am disappointed that Facebook once again refuses to promise that it will never include advertising in Messenger Kids, an offering specifically targeted to children ages 12 and under. It is equally concerning that while Facebook has stated it will not ‘automatically’ share kids’ data with advertisers when users turn 13, the company stops short of declaring that it won’t share this data at all, automatically or otherwise. Companies like Facebook should not be able to cash in on children or teen’s personal information.” 

Related: FTC Confirms Facebook Investigation

Markey and some of his colleagues last month reintroduced the Do Not Track Kids Act, which would up the age covered by COPPA privacy protections to 15 and younger.

Markey also teamed with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) last week to query Facebook on sharing user info with device manufacturers, including from China, without those users' consent.