September 18, 2022
Facebook age policy

Facebook Finally gets Serious about Its Underage User Problem

A more proactive Facebook age policy enforcement will soon start as the social network seeks to ensure its platform isn’t used by children under 13…

Facebook faces a whole host of problems. It’s not only plagued with fake news. Or, suffering from a drop in users posting original content. It also has an issue with underage users. Children under 13 years of age are on the platform, though the site does prohibit kids, at least those who aren’t yet thirteen years old. 

Proactive Facebook Age Policy Enforcement Begins

Now, Facebook is committing to be more proactive following a news report from Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. That report uncovered some disturbing information after an undercover journalist started working as a content reviewer. “We have to have an admission that the person is underage,” a trainer told the reporter. “If not, we just pretend that we are blind and that we don’t know what underage looks like.”

That put Facebook under pressure to become more aggressive about enforcing its age policy. (The US Child Online Privacy Protection Act requires users to be at least 13 years of age.)

Going forward, the social network will no longer take such a hands-off approach. Previously, reviewers would only scrutinize the account of a suspected underage user, if it was reported by someone else. That’s no longer the case. Reviewers will now lock the accounts of those who are suspected of being underage, regardless of the reason it was flagged. 

“Since the program, 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,” Facebook writes in a blog post.

Locked accounts will remain that way until the user supplies official identification to prove they are older than 13.