Zuckerberg talks kids, gadgets and his legacy

Facebook founder takes on issue of young users at e-G8 forum

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday he's not actively working to allow kids under 13 on the social networking site, that Facebook isn't developing any gadgets and he's too young to worry about his legacy.

Zuckerberg, who was named Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2010, spoke to a gathering of the world's top Internet leaders during the closing keynote at the e-G8 Internet forum in Paris. Fielding a range of questions posted on Facebook, Zuckerberg took the opportunity to clear up recent talk that he is trying to get children under the age of 13 onto Facebook.

"We're not trying to work on the ability for people under the age of 13 to sign up," Zuckerberg said. "That's just not on the list of things for us to figure out right now."

He explained that comments he made last week at an education conference on social networking regulations and keeping younger children off his site had been taken out of context.

Zuckerberg added that he'd like to look more deeply into the issue at some point in the future, but it's not something he's doing now.

And when asked if Facebook is developing a smartphone, tablet computer or other device, he said it's not something he's focused on.

"I think there are good ones already," Zuckerberg added. "That's not our business. We get software development and social dynamics. I don't think that we get hardware. So far, what we're focused on is just building really good experiences for these things."

He added that he uses Facebook's iPhone app, and "I really, really like it."

When questioned about what legacy he's hoping to leave, the CEO of the world's largest social network seemed caught a bit off guard. After a few moments he laughed and said, "It's a little early. I'm 27. Give me a break."

He then began to talk about creating a more social world and where Facebook fits in that process.

"I really believe at a really deep level that giving people a way to share is important and valuable, and we should make it happen in a good way," he said. "I just still think we're way closer to the beginning than we are to the end of it. I think it's quite primitive compared to what's possible. If we can play a part in making that happen, that's awesome."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

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