Facebook Forces 104-Year-Old Michigan Granny to Lie About Age

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 22, 2013 11:11 AM EST

While many women lie about their age when they reach 40, this 104-year-old granny from Michigan does not mind disclosing her real age but had to fib because of a Facebook technical glitch.

It was actually Marguerite Joseph's granddaughter, Gail Marlow, who opened an account for her grandma. While inputting the birth year of 1908, Facebook kept changing it to 1928. The situation means that Ms Joseph would remain an 85 for the rest of her years on FB, at least insofar as her online friends are concerned.

Actually, the centenarian could not read since she is legally blind, but Ms Marlow reads and responds to all her FB messages.

In her latest status post, Ms Joseph wrote: "I was actually born on April 19, 1908 . . . but Facebook wouldn't let me enter in a date that goes back that far. I am a native of Coniston, Ontario and was married to John Joseph Sr. who passed away in 2000. I have 5 Children-Shirley Marlow, John Jr., Roger, Francis and Peter, who died of leukemia. I have 12 Grandchildren and several Great Grandchildren. I am a wealth of knowledge and history and love to tell my stories."

She invited her FB friends to read the article on the incident and her 100th birthday celebration at http://www.grossepointenews.com/Articles-i-2008-04-17-217475.112112-Centenarian-artfully-lights-up-the-room.html

Facebook has apologised for the technical glitch and promised to fix it.

"We 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 this inconvenience," Mail Online quoted a Facebook statement.

However, FB is still maintaining its policy of a minimum age of 13 for those signing up, which means many pre-teens would continue lying about their real birth years to become a part of the most popular social networking site.

Seniors on FB are growing in number. This writer was pleasantly surprised to discover Benny Hernandez, his 88-year-old uncle who lives in Elgin, Illinois has a Facebook account, and he not only reads and replies to messages personally, but also posts pictures, plays online games, watches Philippine TV shows via livestreaming and even downloads music on his iPod!

The growing number of seniors who don't want to be left behind with the times was what probably inspired a Philippine telco provider to cast an elder lady to be the model for their broadband commercial.

The advertising campaign was quite successful that it became a series that also comments on realities that while seniors may have the mental and physical abilities to cope with information technology, being retired, they may not have the financial capacity to buy all the expensive gadgets they read on the Web.

Another famous senior on the cyber world is retiring Pope Benedict XVI who has a Twitter account under the handle @Pontifex. However, once he steps down from the papacy on Feb 28, the shepherd of 1.2 billion Catholics will be silenced on cyber space, at least from the @Pontifex account, which has more than 1 million followers.

Whether his successor will continue the policy of tweeting remains to be seen, but it seems there are no Vatican rules prohibiting retired popes from opening personal FB or Twitter accounts while enjoying their sunset years in the Holy See or other mountain resorts.

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