Facebook and Instagram will block underaged users i.e. those less than the age of 13 for their respective platforms according to the recent policy update. Earlier, the moderators and reviewers working with Facebook and Instagram would block profiles of those accounts that were specifically reported for being used by underaged people while others who weren’t reported, got to use the social networking platforms without any hassle but not anymore.
The new ‘operational’ policy on Facebook and Instagram dictates that it will block any users reported to be underaged while the moderators will keep an eye on other accounts on these social networking sites to discover potential underaged users that will be blocked from using the platform.
This tougher action against underaged users will undoubtedly impact on the advertising revenue, however, both Facebook and Instagram are keen to practice it proactively after an undercover documentary was aired on U.K. Channel 4 portraying how content reviewers at Facebook usually ignore underaged users. The journalist who disguised as a content reviewer via a third-party firm called CPL Resources stated how reviewers at Facebook were instructed to block those accounts that were reported by other users suspecting for being used by underage users.
Further, the reviewers disclosed how they tend to ignore other accounts even if they are underaged in case if there is no admission as such. On July 17, Facebook finally updated its policy. Although there are no changes made on how users’ can sign up on Facebook by entering his/her age, Facebook has trained and guided the reviewers on how to detect underaged users and take necessary steps to curtail their access to Facebook and Instagram.
Employees of these two social networking platforms have been trained to block accounts with the age under 13 in order to comply with the U.S. Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Further, the reviewers will block those accounts they suspect or have an indication of being used by underage users. They will scrutinize the data on reported users irrespective if the users had reported these accounts due to being underaged or the accused account has shared any objectionable content after which, they will verify the age and take necessary actions.
Users can self-certify their age on Facebook while signing up which means, they can lie their age without even getting detected. That is why Facebook will keep an eye on accounts that request change in date of birth or age and might hold or suspend the account unless a government issued ID card isn’t provided to verify the user’s age.