Twitter is now locking out users for being underage when they signed up on the platform even though they are all in their mid-20s now. A new policy that was implemented a few months back is responsible for this. Twitter has been cracking down on accounts that users had opened when they were still underage. The social media company is responding to a new directive by the EU that requires users to prove that they are above 13 years old. The directive also requires underage users to have parental consent.
Users who had never bothered to update their birthday until recently have also been affected by this ban. One university student who was one of the early adopters of Twitter suffered this fate. He says that he had tried to update his real birth year on the platform but he couldn’t. The student who was born in 1996 says that every time he hovered over this year it was always greyed out. He added that a few days ago he was able to set 1996 as his year of birth but as soon as he did it, his account was immediately suspended. Even though he has appealed the decision, it’s not clear whether it’s going to work.
A number of blocked users have tried to provide some sought of parental consent in line with Twitter policies while others have also presented documentation like birth certificates to prove they are indeed above 13. The social media platform has not responded to any of these actions and they still remain locked out.
A number of affected users have also expressed their concerns over the privacy and security of these documents. For instance, if you want to appeal the suspension, Twitter will send you a link on your email where you can submit your ID or birth certificate. Some users have lamented that this process appears very sketchy and there’s no guarantee that the sensitive information in this documents won’t be used for other purposes other than account verification. Nonetheless, Twitter maintains that all documents are deleted once they have been reviewed.
There’s a feeling among affected users that the review process is not really going as fast as it should. Twitter has had a massive number of early teenage users. However, the new policy change demanded that all account openers must be at least 13 years old. Those who were younger had to get parental consent in order to use Twitter. The company then began retrospective action against users who opened accounts when they were underage.
The first wave of account suspensions as a result of this policy change started about two months ago. Twitter said at the time that it was working on a long-term solution that would make it easier for suspended accounts to be reinstated. So far we haven’t seen that process. Thousands of users who were affected by the first ban haven’t received any reprieve and it could take a while before their accounts are fully restored. Our attempt to get a comment from Twitter on why the company hasn’t reinstated most of these accounts was not successful.
Although the company has stated that it’s staying in touch with affected users, there are reports that thousands of accounts are still blocked even after updating their birthdays.