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Why a 12-Year-Old Launched His Own Social Network Grom Social is a network for kids, Facebook's more lucrative Hacker Cup, a Pinterest for cats and more.

By Brian Patrick Eha

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This week's need-to-know social media news.

Entrepreneurs of any age could learn a thing or two from Zach Marks of Melbourne Beach, Fla., about turning obstacles into opportunities. The 12-year-old has launched Grom Social, a free social network for teenagers and preteens under age 17. His motivation? Getting kicked off Facebook -- twice -- for violating the age restriction.

After borrowing $2,500 from his older brother, Marks set to work on his own social network, which now boasts Instagram and Twitter integration, and free educational content for kids -- even tutors to help with homework. As of last month, the new site had nearly 7,000 members.

Should the network take off, it could pull younger users away from Facebook. Meanwhile, Grom Social or another kid-friendly social network may itself become a gold mine for toy companies and other youth-focused advertisers and marketers. -- AppNewser

Facebook mobile ads are starting to take off.
Mobile users are increasingly driving traffic to Facebook, and advertisers have responded by purchasing large numbers of mobile ads. More than $1 in every $5 spent on Facebook advertising now goes to mobile, even though mobile ads command a premium cost-per-click rate of $1.38 -- compared to $0.81 for desktop ads. Also of note: The majority of tablet users access Facebook using an Apple product, but when it comes to phones, the Android operating system drives more traffic. -- AllFacebook

Wikipedia readies launch of social travel site 'Wikivoyages.'
In what promises to be a further disruption of the travel industry, Wikipedia is expected to launch a free global travel wiki this month called Wikivoyages, which has been in beta since September. In recent years, companies such as HomeAway, Airbnb and Luxury Retreats -- not to mention Couchsurfing -- have redefined what it means to bed down abroad. But no matter how many startups exist in a space, there's always room for another venture, even a nonprofit like the Wikimedia Foundation, to rewrite the rules. -- Skift

Facebook offers $10,000 in 'Hacker Cup.'
For its third annual Hacker Cup, and its first as a public corporation, Facebook has doubled the prize money for the best hack to $10,000. A hacker mentality has always been part of Facebook's ethos, and it goes to show that even a big public company can still open its doors to new ideas. The Hacker Cup begins Jan. 25 and ends March 23. -- SocialTimes

Not enough cat photos on Pinterest? Join Catmoji.
A new Malaysia-based social pinboard has launched in beta. The hook? It's strictly for cat lovers, by cat lovers, with every picture on the site featuring a furry feline. "Catmoji is on a mission to make the Internet a better and happier place with cats," the site promises. "Join and help us distrupt [sic] the Internet with cats and happiness." -- SocialTimes

Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at Entrepreneur.com. He is writing a book about the global phenomenon of Bitcoin for Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It will be published in 2015.

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