November 6th 2009 2:00 pm PT

Twitter, Facebook, Last.FM and Xbox 360 Family Settings


As some of you might be aware, those under the age of 18 are not able to access Twitter, Facebook and in our public preview. I want to you let you know that this will remain the case when it launches to the world soon. We made this decision because as it stands now, parents aren’t able to use Family Settings to customize which of these applications their children can access. In order to offer an age-appropriate environment for everyone, we decided to turn off these applications for those Gold members under the age of 18. As expected, this has been a hot topic with the preview users. We want to make sure everyone was aware, however, that the development team is working on an update that gives parents the choice of which social applications their children can access. This means that Xbox LIVE members between the ages of 13 and 17 will be able to use Facebook, Twitter and as long as their parents approve. The team hope to roll this out several weeks after launch and I will update you on the exact date as it gets closer. 


Archive By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson


    Fair enough MS are being responsible as they cannot police it. If your child was accosted by a paedo or weirdo people would blame MS straight away.

  • Xebu

    I’m sure the delay may be a pain for those under 18 wanting access but it’s good to see some rolling development of the dashboard rather than the old 6 month cycles.

    …now if only FLAC support and browsing music by folder could sneak in as well ;-)

  • kroberts11

    I can’t remember if it was mentioned or not, but was a date for the actual update mentioned as of yet? The update accidentally installed on both hard drives we use on the xbox in the living room, so I’m pretty sure I can’t use them on the xbox in my bedroom without something messing up. Just wondering when I can look to play in there again! :)

  • Quicksilver4648

    While I fully understand the need for parental controls, I full must ask this, really? A minor under 18 can currently sign up for a Facebook without an issue so why is it that FB is blocked on Xbox? And, that is an internet radio. Are parents really scared Little Johnny (aged 13-17) might hear some offensive songs when he could easily just turn on the radio or turn on the TV and hear the same. Though, this doesn’t affect me at all since I am 19 so I am just going to go now.

  • Apocalypse1309

    I love being a grown-up…

  • The Dukenator

    @Apocalypse1309: Same here.

    Now, it makes you wonder if anything you say on Twitter & Facebook would violate the code of conduct.

  • thundergod79

    Is voice chat restricted in this way too?

    Just curious…doesn’t affect me in the slightest…being 30.

  • ydarkage

    It just annoying not be able to use b/c I´m not from US. ;/

  • oO MG81 Oo

    I think a date was unofficially leaked on uk a couple weeks ago. 17th of November if I remember correctly.

  • Xebu

    ydarkage: It’s not just US, we’ve got it here in the UK.

    I know it’s not much consolation but then again at least it’s not as locked down as Netflix so there is hope it’ll eventually get a worldwide rollout.

  • LousyNixon

    Major I think the right thing is being done to avoid an issue with Xbox & Facbook. If there is no parental controls for these programs then underage children should not have access to it. I know and child can sign up fora Facebook account. But with Xbox & Facebook together it might run amock like wildfire and cause problems for minors. Especially since kids will be kids.

  • Sidereal Oasis

    At least you’re making an effort to fix your blunders.. Now if we could get rid of the annoying “Do you want to still listening to music since you haven’t touched your controller in an hour of listening to music even though there’s nothing besides changing songs you can really do with the controller while listening to music anyway?” from, add a character count in Twitter, and allow Dashboard integration for all three instead of restricting them to semi-useless application, give an actual use for Movie Parties instead of forcing everyone to pay to watch the same file (essentially), just to name a few… we’ll be square.

  • slap shot I2

    Now if MS could just get Netflix streaming and for international customers too. Or, at least, offer an xbox live international price that is lower than the US one to reflect the lack of some features.

  • Jaymoon85

    Yeah, I would focus more on making these applications work through the dashboard instead of being stand alone apps. It’s rather pointless to open one of these programs and not be able to do anything else.

    Facebook and Twitter messaging and friends integrated into the dashboard messaging/friends list would be nice. And of course (stating the complete obvious here) allowing you to listen to Last.FM streams while playing a game.

    Until then, these are a nice idea, and the features looks great on paper, but 3 worthless applications for me.

  • ljc123

    Thanks for adressing this, Major. Being 15 and in the preview program i was shocked, and dissapointed that i couldn’t use it. I can understand facebook and twitter being blocked due to the obvious threats on ther and Microsoft won’t want to be any part of it. But why is being blockedi cannot understand. I imagine that these three applications are grouped together with the same parental settings.

    So, i’m very glad that i’ll be able to use these soon without making a new gamertag that’s over 18 and losing all my gamerscore.

  • FluXelerate

    I think it’s just good that these applications are blocked for minors…

    @slap shot I2: I totally agree with you.

  • TidalPhoenix

    Yay for being all growed up! *woot*

  • Stonecold247

    Anyone remember the days when there was no facebook or twitter? Good times, Good times..

  • blinker flewid

    any chance of making these free applications available to silver members? these applications are after all – free. you do know that right? yeah. because you use twitter. and it doesn’t cost you anything. it’s free. but you need to pay a LIVE fee to use them on the xbox? the applications are free to use over the internet… i don’t think i stressed the word ‘free’ enough. they should be free to silver members. free.

  • Kyaizen

    Probably a smart decision. Oh, and those who are asking, I believe people ages 13 and under have their friends list and chat blocked, and the only way they can add people is if their parents approve it [on another account or using a code].

  • KP ScuzzyBunny

    I completely agree with the foresight in limiting access until the tools are in the parents hands. While it is easy for someone underage to access these applications on a computer when they are not supervised, many parents might be unaware of the features being added to XBL, so if they have restrictions on computer access or what kinds of music and videos their kids watch, the update had the potential to cause some problems. As for the Silver issue…I am still in the camp that Gold is cheap enough that if you want the features, you need to pay for it. XBL is by no means perfect, but as an owner of a PS3 and 360, I can definitely say that I get what I pay for, and that XBL is far superior. $50 a year or $20 every 3 months…buy one less 20oz soda/ water/ juice a week, and that’s if you pay full price (there are plenty of ways to buy them cheaper).

  • Velete

    Hate to see so much effort poured into useless social networking stuff thats only used by kiddies anyway:/

    What a waste of dev time for the 360

  • STONED1999

    Again whats with the 13yr requirement. If I want to give my 11 years old son access to facebook, then it should be my decision. I would prefer control over 1 application that my son uses extensively, rather than him trying to circumvent or move to another platform I’m not aware of. I’ve seen this recently with applications like meebo, which does everything through a browser and effectively bypasses my control of what applications are installed.

    As a parent I’m sick of someone else telling me what is ok for my children. I have never understood how the same set of ppl can advocate privacy and sanctity of the home in 1 sentence, and then regulate me out of all my rights under the guise of child protection.

    Again I repeat, how is it different to allow my child to engage in xbox party mode, but not see his friends facebook posts.

    The only policy I hate more than this is EA’s retarded online play policy. Game companies need to get out of my business !!

  • Supreme Entity

    I’ve said it before… and I’m going to say it again, so pay attention Microsoft.

    First off, all of these ‘applications’ such as Netflix, Facebook, Twitter,, etc. should be completely redone to use your WORKING INTERNET CONNECTION and not just your Xbox Live (Gold) and/or Xbox Live itself. For example, when Xbox Live has scheduled or unscheduled maintenance, the console itself should still be able to use your current working internet connection to stream Netflix movies, music, and still be able to “tweet” or use Facebook if I so wanted to.

    Nothing is more worse than the fact that we already have to pay a XBL Gold subscription fee just to use these products through the system. Yeah, true, I have like three computers in the house and even cell phones with these applications also built in that I can use to check these, but the fact remains, that we should be able to use them with a general connection to the internet. Ok, so you need to have a Gold Subscription… The system itself should already know that you have one, and takes that into account when trying to access these apps.

    Netflix is most important to me as I’d rather watch it via my Xbox as I can watch the movies on a bigger screen (my TV as opposed to my laptop screen), so it irks me when XBL goes down, and I can’t stream a Netflix movie, even though my Xbox has an internet connection. If you guys can do/fix this, then I can’t say that I’d have any more complaints about the Xbox Live Service itself.

  • Guard

    @Stoned1999: That’s the issue. There’s no way yet for you to give access or deny access, so until they add this functionality in, everyone is denied. It’s a temporary workaround on a family settings issue.

    @Quicksilver: You’re wrong. Just because facebook allows users under 18 to sign up for free without restriction does NOT mean that everyone under 18 can use it. Since minors will not be purchasing the internet service and often are not the administrators on their PCs, parents have the ability to setup restrictions on internet use.

    Again, this is a temporary issue with interfacing the app with the Parental settings on the console, and giving access to everyone is NOT an option, since plenty of parents would freak out that their internet usage on Facebook and twitter could go completely unmonitored and blame Microsoft.

  • Dravis

    @thundergod79 yes parents can control their children’s chat settings to everyone (like normal), friends only, or off.

    Major I am proud of MS for taking all the necessary steps to identify and address this problem and others like it.

  • CFR

    Okay so to start out, I want to say that I agree with Microsoft’s decision to block everything until they have the means for parents to decide what their kids can and can’t use. Someone here was asking why the age restriction is 13+? I don’t know why everything is, but facebook clearly says in their ToS that you have to be 13 years or older to use facebook.
    Then we have the people saying that silver should get these features because they’re free on everything else. They’re gold only because they’re perks for being a gold member. The point is that, they’re features on Xbox Live. And MS can decide what features they want to keep to gold users. The features are still free, you just have to be a gold member to use them on your console. If you have a problem with that, then either buy gold, or go use it on your computer. Who really cares about twitter on xbox anyway? Twitter is for people to update what they’re doing, and nobody cares about what you’re doing unless you’re Important. I’m sure nobody cares what I’m doing. And if I’m using twitter on my xbox…then I guess I’m on my xbox? what else could I be doing?

  • Hawaiian c

    this i dont mine at all understandable but major what if a kid falsify is info just to get on it i mean you going to bann the poor kid… all im saying is it really needed its not your fault if any legal issues happen on it its the person doing the action. right?

  • SteelCity Beast

    What if I have no parental controls/restrictions but I am still underage?

  • A Place for Us

    I do think there should be more options in Family Settings. Just seem a bit out-dated because of all the new networking features. Good to see some changes coming.

  • shadaik

    I take it, Xbox Live Gold memberships (which enable voice chat) will soon only be available to adults, too? Seriously, this is over the top. None of these three services are in any way harmful to young people – at least not more than, for example, trashtalk on Xbox Live.
    Or the daily news. Or Spongebob.

  • Gakhar

    Great! Thanks for letting us know Major!

  • FlipperGameplay

    But when will be this update on Live? Why is Microsoft so quiet about date?


    I smell corn and I think that I will go river fishing for trout now. Oh yeah , by the way , good job.

  • ilyo3

    I love that MS listens! Am an oldie so doesn’t affect me…but nice to see they listen to the masses and are giving parents the option!!

    Good job MS!

  • Quaranj

    Good. I know some will disagree with me, but I don’t think minors should have internet access at all unless we come up with mandatory jail time for the parents of child felons. To the guy who lets his 11 year old on FB, smoke another. You’re just asking for them to have a predator find them. Unfortunately I know it’s going to take an international incident like some 14 year old crashing a space shuttle for the laws to reflect the true dangers of the internet for children, and that’s sad. This a step in the right direction, and don’t let any punk kid or maladjusted parent try to tell you otherwise. The internet, like TV is not a babysitter.

  • xTye

    Glad I’m banned until Dec 5th on the forums…I won’t be there to read all the little kids crying about this.

  • Gytis

    when is the full update coming out ?

  • mchiefvs360

    It makes sense to me why they would block facebook and what for child’s accounts.

  • Dvt en MJ

    I still don’t have the freaking update!!! Or all services are not available in Holland.
    While I am participating, and getting e-mails about Zune and stuff…

  • mchiefvs360

    @Dvt en MJ: No, the update hasn’t been releaased yet to the people who didn’t sign up for the preview program, so don’t stress.

  • Dvt en MJ

    I have signed up for the update!

    “Welcome to the Xbox LIVE Update Preview!

    Welcome to the Xbox LIVE Update Preview. There are several new products we would like you to test, including Zune video, Twitter, and Facebook.”

    Does that say enough? I think yes! So again… Where’s my freaking update?!

  • Skidpro

    It’s not just ‘family settings’ as i switched off most of mine for my 12 year old now…he is signed up as a 12 year old on his birthday,so wont get Facebook & Twitter but his friends at school all use facebook etc…so I think we, parents, should have the option of allowing our children access to these sites on x360 MS…I hope thats what you decide. Parents can monitor their kids activity…..

  • CFR

    I’m gonna go ahead and say it again to all those people who complain that their children under 13 won’t be able to use facebook… Facebook is for people age 13 and older.
    “You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.”

    Therefore, your kids under 13 shouldn’t even have facebook accounts. Facebook is for people going into high school and older. You can’t even sign up for a facebook account unless you put in your birthday as 13 or older. So I think if your children have facebook accounts under the age of 13, I think you should go talk to them about that.

    What Microsoft is doing is a good thing, not allowing kids to access these features until the parental controls are updated to accommodate these changes. If the update also allowed for gruesome and grotesque videos to play automatically in the dashboard advertisements, and the only option was to block everything for minors until the parental controls update was released, wouldn’t you feel better knowing that your 10 or 11 year old child isn’t watching a person get hanged, drawn, and quartered in a little video on the dashboard? I think you can sacrifice a feature that you can access on the computer 20 feet away in the other room for a little while.

  • The Dukenator

    My head hurts too much, but this limiting thing might have something to do with COPPA.

    But then again, I’m not really sure.

  • xX GOJAG Xx

    Major – Xbox Child accounts should operate identical to Adult accounts but with the added feature of the parent being able to select which features their child should have access to. my 3 kids have high tenure and great gamerscores but hate ME for lack of features :-( Please address this ASAP – i will only let my kids use a “paid for” & moderated system like Xbox LIVE – keep up the fantastic work, Regards Gary

  • IRL Spitfire

    I made a thread giving out about the fact that facebook/twitter were completely unavailable to underage users about a week ago and it looks like my complaining may have paid off but seriously, “several weeks” to add 1 option to the family settings?!

    You’d wonder how anything gets done by the xbox live dev team if that’s the rate they’re working at!

  • monosocratic

    This post has had, by far, the most mature replies to just about any of the Major’s posts.
    I, too, agree that it should not be available to minors. Don’t blame MS, blame America’s penchant for suing companies for no good reason. MS has to protect themselves.
    Not sure that they should be free for silver users. Yes, facebook is free on the computer, but if I want to see it on my cell phone I have to pay a tech fee through my provider.

  • Warrengonline

    Microsoft made a good choice in limiting Children Under 18 access to unauthorized content. FaceBook has A LOT of questionable content. I’m not into all of stuff any way, except Farmville.

    Making the parents enable such features (and being responsible) is awesome. I just hope ‘real names’ are hidden on Xbox Live along with birth date and location.

    “Dorothy, this isn’t Atari any more.”

    iPod Touch and iPhone have the free Facebook app – if you’re too lazy to power up your ‘puter to read or make a post about nothing. “Dang, you found me!”

  • Demonhl3

    @Stoned1999: I’m right there with you. some how the age setting on my xbox live account is set to me being below 13. I’m sure when it was made the year was put as the year I made the account so I’m stuck to none of that until the family settings and can’t do online modes for EA games :(.