Facebook, Instagram instruct reviewers to lock accounts of underage users

Till now underage accounts were locked only if reported, but now the rules have been made stricter.

Many child health experts and activists have questioned Facebook time and again for allowing tweens and young children on its platform. These questions became significantly louder when Facebook rolled out a Messenger aimed at kids younger than the age of 13.

Facebook seems to be back in the news for the same issue now, and this time, a documentary by a British news channel on Facebook and its underage users, has started the fire.

So Facebook has a straight-up policy, which makes anyone below the age of 13, ineligible to use the platform. All this while, Facebook maybe acting blind to the fact that it has thousands of tweens on its platform, but the documentary has now made it difficult for them to look away.

The documentary found that up till now, Facebook has been turning a blind eye to the underage users in the garb of its policy, which directed Facebook’s content reviewers to ignore the tweens on the platform, unless their account was specifically reported for underage use.

Facebook has finally rolled out slightly stricter rules to boot out underage accounts.

Facebook has finally rolled out slightly stricter rules to boot out underage accounts.

“We have to have an admission that the person is underage. If not, we just like pretend that we are blind and that we don’t know what underage looks like,” a reviewer says in the documentary.

Now, in response to the reported documentary, Facebook posted a blog post on 17 July, which notes that “we have been working to update the guidance for reviewers to put a hold on any account they encounter if they have a strong indication it is underage, even if the report was for something else.”

Basically, Facebook has finally instructed its reviewers that even if an account is reported for something totally different, and if the account user is found to be underage, then those profiles must be activated. Even if these profiles aren’t really reported and the reviewer just comes across such an account, they have been asked to take action. Users of these accounts will be able to get the account back live only after presenting a proof of age.

According to a report by TechCrunch, this is a change the company is bringing for its reviewers on both Facebook and Instagram. However, the report also mentions, “This does not mean Facebook will begin a broad sweep of its site hunting for underage users, but it will stop ignoring those it comes across.”

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