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Facebook prevents 104-year-old woman from revealing her age

Marguerite Joseph might be advanced in years, but she likes to use Facebook to keep up with her family. It's just that Facebook doesn't accommodate the idea of being born in 1908.

She doesn't look a day over 60.
Channel 4 Detroit / Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When Mark Zuckerberg had (or didn't have) the sparkling idea for Facebook, he imagined that everyone on it would be 20 and gorgeous.

Oh, all right, maybe 22. And maybe not always so gorgeous.

But he surely never conceived that more mature people -- yes, the over-30s -- would be interested in sharing their party photos with strangers online.

How times have changed.

And yet the site still has some quirks. Something Marguerite Joseph from Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., discovered to her dismay.

Joseph isn't shy about her age. She's 104. In fact, she'll be 105 in April.

She's legally blind, but she likes to use Facebook to keep up with her family. She's also proud of her age. Yet every time she has tried to put 1908 as her year of birth, Facebook insists she must mean 1928.

Her granddaughter Gail Marlow reads and responds to Joseph's Facebook messages every day.

Marlow told Channel 4 in Detroit: "Every time I tried to change the settings to the right year, Facebook always came back with an unknown error message and would send us right back to a year she wasn't born in. I would love to see her real age on Facebook, I mean in April she's going to be 105. It's special."

You might imagine that Facebook was already aware of this little anomaly. You might imagine that the Duchess of Cambridge secretly dreamed of marrying Mick Jagger.

However, now that the publicity machine has cranked up enough noise to reach Facebook's ears, the company issued a statement: "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."

What still seems odd is that the machines wouldn't even let Joseph have 1918, instead shifting her immediately to 1928. Perhaps they couldn't believe how young she looked.

There has been a small side benefit to Joseph's sudden publicity. When Channel 4 Detroit took up her cause, she had just over 100 friends.

However, if you go to her Facebook page now, she has 202.

In case you were wondering whether she might be friends with you, please let me reveal that she is a big fan of the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers, "I Love Lucy," Ellen DeGeneres, and the movie "Casino."

Oh, yes, she seems like a character.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET