Facebook Launches Crackdown on Under 13s

Facebook Launches Crackdown on Under 13s
Young Facebook users will have their accounts locked from this week if moderators believe they may be under 13 .

(CCM) — Facebook has decided to actively enforce its minimum age policy in what amounts to a policy U-turn by the social network.

Facebook moderators, as well as moderators of its Instagram service, will now lock the accounts of anyone they suspect of being under 13, according to a Techcrunch report. Its previous policy was only to scrutinize accounts of users that had specifically been reported for being underage, the report says.

Moderators will lock accounts of anyone they believe is under 13, even if their account had been referred to moderators for something else entirely, such as having objectionable content. Once an account is locked, the account holder will have to provide proof that they are over 13, such as some form of government-issued ID, before it can be reactivated.

The change in policy follows a documentary report in the U.K. in which claims were made that moderators were instructed to ignore users who appeared under 13, according to the report.

An alternative approach would be to require all users to provide proof of age before they sign up, but Facebook is believed to be loath to do this because it would slow down the social network's growth rate, and reduce its advertising revenues. Facebook is also keen to recruit young people to its service to ensure that its user rebase remains high in the future.

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