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Why Facebook wants you to enter your birthday information

First published on January 31, 2007

Given that Facebook is a social networking site, I can’t say I am particularly sensitive about sharing my birthdate on there. After all, a lot of my other personal information is on my Facebook profile. I just choose not to enter my birthdate, whether or not I have to show it on my profile. What bugs me about the request shown in the screenshot below is that it’s rather vague as to why it wants you to enter your birthday information, nor does it give a link for more details.

Facebook wants you to enter your birthday information

So I decided to ask:

Please tell me why it is a “security measure” that I enter my birthdate into Facebook.

And this is “their” reply:

For the security of yourself and our other users, we need to verify that you are old enough to use the site. Additionally, there are certain age requirements for particular networks so that the right users are associating with the right network. No information that you provide to Facebook will be distributed or used in any way. Let me know if you have any other questions.

So… yeah. In case you’re wondering, there’s your answer. There are other reasons why they like to have your birthdate, such as showing you ads tailored to your age group.

I still won’t enter my birthday information, partly because I’m stubborn.

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40 Responses to “Why Facebook wants you to enter your birthday information”


  1. Deena says:

    Hrmm… how effective is that REALLY going to be in warding off pre-teens…


  2. man says:

    just give em a fake birth date.. according to facebook i am 82 years old


  3. Jim says:

    I’m not sure why anyone would consider their birthdate to be sensitive information. I’ve absolutely zero problems with giving out my birthdate to anyone who wants it. It is, after all, already a matter of public record. Now, if they want my Social Security Number, that they have to have a good reason to acquire before I’ll share it. Birthdate just seems like a silly thing to rebel on.


  4. Peter says:

    You’re right, it is a bit silly. Rebels are often silly :D


  5. Emil Sit » A tale of Facebook: privacy and community says:

    [...] a long time, I simply ignored Facebook’s requirement that you enter your birthday “as a security measure.” How can Facebook knowing your [...]


  6. Phoenix says:

    I think it is so you can reset your password. They collect information like that so that they can verify who you are later. lol.


  7. Juan Carlos says:

    Shutup Just make it up DUH


  8. kiko says:

    Birthdate is sensitive information too. if a hacker know your birthday, it’s one useful info when resetting password, or validating your infos like in credit card. It’s like filling up jigsaw puzzle pieces one at a time. If you are concern, give a fake birthday but close enough to the real one.


  9. Syakira says:

    Most likely for statistics and marketing purposes, what else ?


  10. nunya says:

    Why would I want anybody verifying who I am? We have no idea what their database will be used for in the future


  11. ELLETEA says:

    Most people are like sheep – they follow dumbly and blindly. Even on Facebook you still have the control to NOT publish your birthday – you can…omg! LIE — As for profile tidbits — anyone who knows you already knows what you like or don’t like — that part is complete fluff — and again it links to marketing…Facebook is about marketing, making money for advertisers and for Facebook. Facebook is a good tool to connect with friends, and has by now toppled websites like "Classmates.com" because it’s not fee based -Anyways DON"T BE A SHEEP! Don’t give them your "real" birthday, and if you are a Sheep, then for pete’s sake don’t publish your full birthday with the year for everyone to see. There’s lots of stuff on Google about how to keep yourself safe and secure on Facebook and still have fun. Just be smart about it. ELLETEA


  12. Kamen says:

    Just because they ask the question does not mean you have to answer it… too many people think they have to fill in all the blanks. With identity theft on the rise, its better to not put stuff in there. Also, any privacy policy is only as good as today, does not include tomorrow because if Yahoo buys them, they get the data and they are very open about how non-private your data is, no matter what the previous owners promised.


  13. Bill Borden says:

    Identity thieves use your birth date to steal your identity. When I was in the mortgage business I was able to run credit reports on people even if I accidentally entered the wrong social security number, as long as I had the correct birthday.


  14. slemons says:

    They want your exact birthdate because their advertisers think users fall into nice neat little "Life Stages." So, if you’re 50, you’re going to be presented ads for polyester leisure suits sold by Sears and if you’re 16 you’ll be presented ads for hip surfer clothes at Hollister. Never mind most 40s & 50s I know shop at Hollister & A&F. You’ll also be served up more offensive age-stereotyped ads. AARP memberships to 40s and 50s and Clearasil for teens and 20s. Unfortunately, we have not fit into these nice neat little life stages since the 1960s. But there is a correct way to ask this question: "What age group do you most identify with?" This allows 50s to say they identify with 35s and teens to say they identify with 20s, etc.


  15. lex says:

    it is, as you say, crap.


  16. mary says:

    If all they need is to market and set age appropriate sites, then all they need is the year you were born, the ONLY reason they could have is asking because complete data is more valuable & at some point in the future it could mean money. The motivation behind everything in business.


  17. luvbugz says:

    yeah it is stupid to rebel bout ur birthday and facebook. just give em a fake one. like really poeple? ohh and richard i think your cute! miss u richard! <3 hope u dump charity soon ofr me! <3 :)


  18. Brandon says:

    Giving your REAL birthday is NOT WISE! Everyone knows that your real birthday can be used to pull all sorts of background information that you may or may not want to share and your birthday is NOT easily accessed via public records if no one knows it otherwise. It is also used for a variety of security measures and the only person who’d want your B-day online other than friends would be those who want to do you harm. DO NOT GIVE YOUR REAL B-DAY ONLINE! It is 2nd only to your SS # in terms of your privacy.


  19. Jessica mckeegan says:

    oh my god i am so so pissed off i put in my birthday 3 times and i am nearly 21 and it kept asking me and one time i put it as 98 instead of 89 and it wont let me on my log in!!!!! Grrrrrrrrr


  20. Trudy George says:

    I have a 10 year old grandaughter whose parents apparently are not monitering her or her 13 yr. old sisters activity on the net. My 10 yr olds info reads: looking for "men"….does this not make her a perfect target for predators?? I think facebook needs to make some kind of safer rules applicable to the users.


  21. Mike says:

    I used to put in my birthday everywhere. I’m not so worried about identity theft on these kinds of sites like Facebook. But now I think that there’s a lot of information that these sites take only for the purpose of getting the information because they might be able to use it for marketing (read: spam). No thank you!


  22. Praise says:

    y dnt u jst put ur birthdate, cause it’s nt a big deal jst 2 put ur age.

    u no wat it’s jst wasting ur time being in facebook. cause dey want u 2 put ur birthdate. if u dt no facebook 4 u.

    dat hw it’s works sorry.


  23. Dexa says:

    Hi,

    I need help,,, I did not tell myreal birthday at facebook and when i

    use my iphone and access the FB for the first time it ask me my

    birthday and I dont remmber what I put in now I cannot open

    my FB account even in my own computer it ask me the birthdate I

    have put in when I sign up which I dont remember.. PLS HELP!!


  24. passerby says:

    i dont think so, the fact is they request your birthdate cos the facebook is an intelligence security centre collects info about all based on specific ideas .. no ads, no rules, no nothing ..


  25. Rex says:

    Giving out your real birth date along with your real name is about as idiotic as giving out your bank account number (it’s against Facebook policy to use "fake" name… – and if they find out, it WILL – result in Facebook closing down your account!).
    As far as fake birthday is concerned – I have just learned that Facebook has a very crafty way to keep an eye on that also: having an account for couple of months, I decided to change my birth date a few days ago (for no particular reason – I just happen to wander in "my profile" and thought that I don’t like the one (fake) I gave them initially. Sort of absentmindedly I have typed in first date that came to my mind (and it happened to be the year 2000) and the system has notified me that I cannot have an account unless I am at least 13 years old. I thought: OK, and changed that date to something like 1919 (just thinking it was funny) on which the system told me that the date has to be a "real one" (why the f.ck couldn’t I be an old person using a Facebook?) and basically didn’t allow me to proceed, so I wanted to put some "normal" date in and they notified me that birth date can only be changed from "under aged" to adult or vice versa once and they closed my account down! As it happens, I was about to exit Facebook anyway, so I don’t give a damn, but if you "value" your account there, you better be aware of this!


  26. Ethan says:

    For those that don’t think identity theft is an issue on Facebook or other sites requesting birthdate or other info. read the article below. People are cobbling together info. from searches, on FB and other sites including your own posts. Remember what you said 3 years ago is still posted out there or what someone else said. Even if you don’t list your date of birth friend’s often post birthday messages on your birthday and ask "how’s it feel to be " x age " making it pretty easy to figure things out.

    Think that’s too far fetched? Read this:
    Facebook Still a Hotbed of Identity Theft, Study Claims
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/184522/facebook_still_a_hotbed_of_identity_theft_study_claims.html


  27. nicole says:

    what i don’t get is its my sister’s birthday, her 13th birthday and she’s considered inelligable for facebook… what the hell?!


  28. sun says:

    wow…what is so special about birthday? Birthday is not even anything unique. You know there are gazillion other people that share the same day you were born.

    Sorry but it Seems like meaningless paranoia.


  29. SuzyGS says:

    Facebook – liars! I have my birth year listed but not published. They say they do not use the information, so why do I get AARP ads and other senior-related ads? I turned 50 last year. I don’t like targeted ads, especially ones that remind me I’m getting older.


  30. rachel wagner says:

    i hate facebook. they will not let me reactivate my account. went from fake birthdate to protect my identity and gave real one now to get my account back. They wont do it. I SO AGAINST FACEBOOK. WE NEED A NEW SOCIAL NETWORK THAT IS FRIENDLY.


  31. Rhiannon says:

    seriously….I would not at all be surprised if Facebook was selling its lists of Users to third-parties (such as bill collectors, private investigators, etc.)….good money to be made there……you take a name like Robert Jones…its VERY common…but…you add a birth-date to that name…..Bingo….you have a VERY identifiable feature that makes it much easier to search and distinguish person to person…….Robert Jones is a very common name but add the birth date (this is fictitious by the way, just for an example here) of March 31, 1979 to that and you are have something much more.
    I would suspect THAT is why Facebook wants your information. They hate it btw when you change your birthday.


  32. Meg says:

    Silly sausages! it’s not about being paranoid about sharing the day you were born it’s all about the combination of the day month AND YEAR partnered with your name! think about ordering stuff online?? your bank has set up a security password and if you have forgotten it you have to enter your BIRTH DATE!! To change the password!

    now i know a lot of people have private profiles but some members of Facebook who are not as technology aware don’t have their birth dates set to private…. a person steals your card, looks you up on Facebook, records your birthday and away they go- YES they usually always get caught because of the delivery address but it’s still not a good position to be in!


  33. John says:

    last time i faked a birthdate then it was required later on and i couldnt remember the fake bd,,,,,,,its all security, big brother stuff, the coming of the age, where RFID’s will track you everywhere, which in alot of emergency situations thats a good thing to be tracked, cant wait till you can vote from home, BUT, i take that back too, good to meet to ole township neighbors and politicians, can you tell i’m getting a little older this year!i must be settling in my ways


  34. srinivas says:

    i forget my date of birth wich i mentioned on facebook

    please give my date of birth

    Reply from Peter: Age ain’t nothin’ but a number!


  35. Nitro says:

    I am 24 years old living in the US (by the great lakes) and I can say that facebook absolutely knows nothing about me. You may ask, well how in the heck does facebook not know what political group I favor, what sports teams I like, what restaurants I eat at, what movies I go watch etc… Also you may ask why I would prevent Mark Zucherberg from taking all that information and selling it to company’s who will pay out the butt for that information?

    The Answer

    I never created a facebook account nor will I ever.
    that information is valuable
    stop selling yourselves for "likes" to a company who steals from its members (that includes going public and taking unfortunate thinking people’s hard earned money)
    be smart people and remove your facebook accounts today


  36. unknown says:

    you know your email right if on ur email you put a certain birth date then when you put in a diffrent date then it wont let you :] duhhhh


  37. Xochitl says:

    Having to give your birthdate or not people at still going to make accounts lying that they are over the required age. There’s absolutely NOTHING you can do about that of its your website. They should know that clearly but since it IS common knowledge … Why would they want our age other than for ads ?? There’s a secret behind this and it smells really fishy.


  38. impocrito says:

    funny you guys have no problems giving out your birthday. just so you know that hackers can reconstruct your social security number with just your birthday and place of birth. silly people.


  39. drea says:

    Facebook and like other sites just want our real personal information because their working with the government to collect data for telemarketing use and to find criminals .


  40. Anonymus says:

    F*ck Facebook security.I entered a fake Facebook birth day and now they are temporarily locking my Facebook account and if I want it back,I would need to provide it which I already provided.I wonder if it’s against Facebook rules to provide a fake birthday………….

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