COPPA Applies to Blogs: the Xanga Story

More and more, it appears that blogging will gain the respect that it deserves not from appreciation of its content, its growth as a solid, accepted social media outlet, nor its ability to share breaking news, but because bloggers have become parties to litigation in various forms.

Alongside copyright infringement and shield law cases popping up all over the country, consider this:  the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was passed by Congress to protect kids from online skulduggery.

In sum, COPPA regulates how personal information is gathered and used when it's kids who are inputting the stuff.  It requires things like parental consent for purchasing info, for example.

Last spring, Disney got hit big time with a fine by the Federal Trade Commission to the tune of $3,000,000.00 for collecting info from kids at its Playdom, Inc. site without parents' okay

However, here's the point I'm making.  Bloggers must adhere to the COPPA regulations just like Disney Corporation and other Big Kahunas. 

Xanga.com, for example, is a blogging service that was sued for COPPA violations awhile back.  Xanga offered MySpace-like services to kids and got hit with a $1 million fine (the biggest COPPA fine at that time, according to MSNBC). 

Seems Xanga was allowing kids under 13 years of age set up blogs in its "blogging community" and the Federal Trade Commission found this did not comport with COPPA requirements.

True, Xanga isn't a blog itself -- it's a blogging service.  However, it's still within that blogging realm and its story is a part of the path to blogging's respectability.