Facebook Forces 104-Year-Old To Lie About Her Age

Photo (cc) by Kevin Krejci

A Detroit TV station says Marguerite Joseph, 104 years young, can’t correctly list her birthdate on Facebook.

It’s not because she’s vain or technically inept. (She is legally blind, however, and her granddaughter Gail Marlow reads everything to her.) She’s been on Facebook for years. And all this time, the site refused to acknowledge her real age. It kept resetting 1908 to 1928, and the glitch listed that as 99 years old even though the math doesn’t add up.

The site, originally built as a platform for college students, probably didn’t anticipate three-digit ages. But since it opened its doors to everyone with or without a university email address and went public, it should have.

Marlow’s tried contacting Facebook about the problem, even going so far as to directly reach out to CEO Mark Zuckerberg several times. She never got a response, at least not until the story was published.

An update to the story has this statement from Facebook: “We’ve recently discovered an issue whereby some Facebook users may be unable to enter a birthday before 1910. We are working on a fix for this and we apologize for the inconvenience.”

Her Facebook profile now features photos of the station’s reporter and camerawoman interviewing her, and the message “I am so overwhelmed by all the wonderful messages and friend requests. We never knew we would make such big news! May God Bless all of you! ;-)”

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