Facebook Apparently Doesn't Believe Anyone Over 100 Could Use The Service, 104 Year Old Has To Lie

from the for-the-encouragement-of-lying dept

There are plenty of stories about children under the age of 13 having to lie (often with the assistance of their parents) to get on Facebook. This is due to the ridiculous COPPA law that the FTC supports strongly, despite it doing close to nothing to actually "protect children." But what's the excuse for people lying at the other end of the scale? A 104 years old woman is forced to be perpetually 99 years old because Facebook apparently refuses ages higher than that. It makes you wonder if they just never thought someone with three digits in their age would use the service and only set up the database to handle two digits. Oddly, rather than defaulting down to 99 years old when Marguerite Joseph tried to enter her birth year of 1908, the system automatically took 20 years off her life and said she was born in 1928. Either way, just as parents are helping children lie about their age at the youth end of the spectrum, in this case, it's Marguerite's granddaughter who's the accomplice here, since Marguerite is legally blind, but still likes to keep in touch with people via Facebook.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 4:09am

    All sorts of dark humor and age related jokes came to mind with an evil chuckle when I thought about how Facebook (and the current admins) will be 100 years from now. Time is a bitch, it spares none ;)

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 5:54am

    104 or 108? Which is it?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 5:55am

    If you're legally blind, you have no legal right to bypass any technology that prevents you from doing legal things that people who can see are permitted to do. Remember, doing so is against the DMCA, and that is above all law. Don't be a filthy sight pirate.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 5:58am

    Re:

    Remember that you don't own the sight that you have, you are only licensing it and it can be revoked at any time.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 5:59am

    Re:

    >99

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:11am

    Meh, this just sounds like an edge case scenario where an incorrect assumption was made when programming the site, and the number of users likely to be affected is probably not high enough for them to worry too much about fixing it. They probably should fix it, but it's a far cry from the legal and other reasons why the limits exist on the other end of the scale.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:20am

    Run for the Hills!

    It's Y2K all over again! Facebook's lack of foresight will cause the cyber-Apocalypse.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:23am

    Re: Run for the Hills!

    two digits for an age ... lol

     

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  9.  
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    Nick Burns (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:26am

    It's a 1909 bug. It's even in Excel.

     

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  10.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:30am

    Re: Run for the Hills!

    We desperately need CISPA to avoid this cyber-zombie-apocalypse!

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:33am

    As if it wasn't bad enough that lack of fore*sight* saw (pun intended) people unable to *insert four digits into their dates* back at the turn of the millennium, it's been replicated ... here, Facebook, have some Y2KY Jelly.

     

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  12.  
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    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    Excel isn't exactly the model for robustness.

     

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  13.  
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    justok (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:38am

    You'd think she be old enough to know better than to use facebook.

     

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  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:59am

    This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    I'm still amazed at how little actual economics you mention here. -- Heck, you won't even do Fantasy Economics of what changes you wish to promote. (Though you've said you do Fantasy Football). -- It's quite odd that you almost never write about anything in your own (supposed) field, one of the points that continue to intrigue me -- especially when goes for years of little stories that like this one, apply only to decimal point anomalies while ignoring everyday items many orders of magnitude more important.






    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up at same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Mike claims to have a college degree in economics, don't ya know?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:01am

    Re: This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    "Mike claims to have a college degree in economics, don't ya know?"

    As apposed to you and joe? Who have degrees in nothing?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:02am

    Lol poor 108 year old. Cool that this person still uses technology.

     

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  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    When you haven't got anything to say about what's being written, whine about what's not being written. That way, you don't even have to concede anything and compete the "I'm a complete asshole" look that you've worked so hard to cultivate here!

    Hey, ootb, where's your blog where you're reporting this story? I'd like to read your quality journalism since Mike isn't writing it yet?

     

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  18.  
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    Michael, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Re:

    It probably is, but it is still pretty embarrassing.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:11am

    Odd, I am over 100 on facebook. At least I was at my last birthday. I'll have to remember my login and see if im younger now.

     

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  20.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:12am

    For the children

    It's still the same excuse. It is for the children. She may be 104 but she is still someone's child.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Re:

    You have Y2KY Jelly? I have some peanut butter and a loaf of bread.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Re: This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    Hmmm, so you are expecting articles here only about economics?

    Maybe you should try economicdirt.com.

    This is "TechDirt" which focuses on technology and how that impacts people. Sure, sometimes technology does have an economic impact, but not always.

    Facebook uses a technology, and in this case the impact to the economy is non-existent, so why would this article focus on economics?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Re: This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    Its called techdirt, not taxdirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Atkray (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    Being legally blind she hasn't actually seen it.

     

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  25.  
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    Atkray (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:25am

    Re: This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    O Hai der Blue.

    I see they are still experimenting with your dosage levels, good luck.

     

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  26.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    No No No.. He has a Masters in Stupidity and a Doctorate of Inane Ramblings

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:32am

    Re: This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    Got a citation for that "dodging taxes" claim?

    I've never seen you post anything in your own field either. Unless your own field is being a complete and thorough jackass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Just wait

    In a few years, a goodly percentage of FB's users are going to be centenarians, given the increase in longevity that modern medicine (costs be darned) is allowing us! Sounds very near-sighted to me, and being a myopic 65yo with otherwise good/great health, that is something I can relate to! :-)

     

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  29.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: This is more important than Facebook dodging taxes?

    He's presumably referring to this non-story:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/02/18/facebook-doesnt-pay-taxes-on-its-pr ofits-so-what/

    I'm not sure why he demands that Mike debunk it for him since it's already been debunked elsewhere, but I assume the facts have been filtered out with whatever system he's using that filters out his civility, sanity and common sense.

     

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  30.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 9:23am

    Why give Facebook your real age anyway?

    Given that you never quite know what Facebook is doing with your data, I'm not sure you want to provide the company with your real birth date anyway.

    This article says "has to lie." How about, "wants to lie"?

     

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  31.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    As if it wasn't bad enough that lack of fore*sight* saw (pun intended) people unable to *insert four digits into their dates* back at the turn of the millennium, it's been replicated

    That is unlikely. They are not going to store the user's age since that changes, but her birthdate. It's much more likely they decided as an error-checking measure that any age over 99 must be a mistake. It's bad design rather than bad coding. That distinction may seem like splitting hairs but not to a programmer. :-)

     

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  32.  
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    AB, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re:

    That brought tears to my eyes!

     

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  33.  
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    RonKaminsky (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Run for the Hills!

    Considering that the term of copyright is currently almost universally "life of author + N", I'm not laughing with you...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    Needs a "true, but anyone who reads this and agrees with this statement must promptly shoot themselves" button

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 11:22am

    I and others will rue the day...

    when say, something happens like PayPal buying up Facebook or vise versa (Google bought Youtube, and are combining accounts). They compare data on both accounts and figure out that your real identity & age on one site does not correspond to your age on the other site.

    Rather than figure out a fix for it, they will probably decide you are a liar/scam artist/flim flammer/etc, and shut down both your accounts (locking up any money you had in your PayPal account, and your online identity with Facebook) with no recourse, until you can prove you were born in 1908 and 1928.

     

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  36.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 11:36am

    Re: I and others will rue the day...

    I'm sure companies are already comparing data. If they want to start deleting people who don't provide accurate birth dates on social media (it's not like these important financial records), so be it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: I and others will rue the day...

    If they want to start deleting people who don't provide accurate birth dates on social media (it's not like these important financial records)

    Unless one of them is PayPal or the like...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: I and others will rue the day...

    Unless one of them is PayPal or the like...

    If the PayPal user is linking to a legitimate bank or credit card and there have been no problems and the user has been using PayPal, I doubt that PayPal is going to delete the user. (eBay has had some sketchy people/companies selling stuff there, so I don't think eBay goes out of its way to delete people.)

    Now, a company like Facebook could start deleting people if their birthdates don't match up, but I suspect that those who get deleted will figure it is time to take a break from Facebook anyway.

    These companies don't want to delete people unless there's a real problem for the companies. I doubt that providing an incorrect birth date (unless you are a minor) is actually much of a problem for Facebook. Of course, they want as much accurate info as possible to sell your data, but that's precisely why people don't always provide it. Facebook is going to have to figure out that privacy balance.

    Most websites (unless they are liquor sites) don't require you to provide birth dates.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Why give Facebook your real age anyway?

    The headline gives her age as 108 and the article says 104. Who's doing the lying here?

     

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  40.  
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    The Old Man in The Sea, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re:

    What design??????

    You are not splitting hairs on this one.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    The Old Man in The Sea, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    Re: I and others will rue the day...

    Most of us have been given names that actually mean something in one language or another. Once you expand you name fully, you then have a variety of options as to what you can call yourself legitimately.

    For example, Forrest Hill, Forrest Small, Forrest Strong are all variations on one name. Can you guess it?

    Or you could just use another language variation on a name, such as John, Ian, Iain, Sean, Shawn, Jan, Yani, Jack.

    How on earth and why on earth would they then make the assumption that any two names belong to the same person. if you do a web search for me, there are at least six of us to be found around the world, funnily enough, a number of those are in the same field of endeavour.

    Unless there is other information such as addresses or bank accounts or other identifiers used, you cannot make an assumption programmatically that two individuals are in fact the same person.

     

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  42.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What design??????

    The design that says "any age over 99 is an error condition".

     

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  43.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: I and others will rue the day...

    How on earth and why on earth would they then make the assumption that any two names belong to the same person.

    Nobody said they'd be comparing names. Matching email address could be enough information for a business to make a stupid decision.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: I and others will rue the day...

    Unless there is other information such as addresses or bank accounts or other identifiers used, you cannot make an assumption programmatically that two individuals are in fact the same person.

    I assume that many of these tracking companies do, in fact, know who they are following and can figure out one person from another. But again, I don't think they are actually going to be blocking people who don't give them the correct birth date unless there is a very specific reason to supply it. And if they do start blocking people because people try to hide personal info about themselves from companies like Facebook, then the privacy wars are going to get kicked up a notch or two.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    athe, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Why give Facebook your real age anyway?

    Regardless, both ages are >99, so really, who cares...

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why give Facebook your real age anyway?

    They fixed that for us. Okay. Moving along...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Why give Facebook your real age anyway?

    Just saw this. How much info do you really want to give Facebook?

    Here’s what Facebook Graph Search is doing next | VentureBeat: "Once Facebook dumps all the Open Graph data into the mix — way beyond what pages you like, including what you bought, sites you’ve commented on, your online game scores, etc. — the computations get even more complex, the filters for relevance even more clever."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are those tears legal, or are they third-party unlicensed tears? In the case of the latter, you need a SWAT team to raid your house and acquire your eyes for illegal usage; by force if necessary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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