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Facebook is going on trial for an alleged breach of privacy it appears. The full story is here.

I don't know American law at all but I'm writing in the UK and over here, if a case is coming to court, we have to be very careful about prejudicing the outcome by commenting on it. Given that, plus the fact that I know diddly-squat about it in any case, I'm not going to comment on the details of this case.

Except...

Two of the people bringing the case are, the story says, children. Now, nobody take this wrongly, but even if I hadn't spent the last four months researching social networking for my book, I wouldn't have advised anyone sane on Planet Earth to let their kids loose on social networks. Twitter, Facebook, even Myspace, these and anywhere else on the Net are areas in which surely one can anticipate some degree of parental supervision otherwise you really won't know what your kids are looking at (and yes, most people are trustworthy by nature but I've certainly been randomly friended by someone on FB who was determined to send videos of women in various states of undress - I've often wondered how people think they're going to make any money out of sending me loads of free porn, but that's another debate).

It's too easy as someone who has experience in technology and who's been using this stuff for decades (if not Facebook then Compuserve and its predecessors) to assume it's widely known that unsupervised kids on the Web is a bad idea. I wonder whether it's time for an international education programme reminding people of the basics - and if so, who could be persuaded to pay for it?

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