The social media company is allegedly blocking all users who were under the age of 13 when they first signed up for an account.
Twitter is apparently taking strong action against anyone whose self-declared date of birth means they were under the age of 13 when they first signed up, in order to comply with strict new GDPR rules.
“I received a message saying my account was now locked, and would require parental consent in order to process my data, or my account will be deleted”, said one user who claims to have signed up in 2009 and is now 20, said a report in the Guardian newspaper.
The report went on to say that the nameless user “had signed up for an account in 2009 without entering a birthday, and then put a fake age in once the company introduced the ability to add that information, before recently updating it to his actual birthday”.
Unlucky for some, the number 13…
It does not seem to have been an isolated incident either. Users who were underage when they joined Twitter have begun receiving notices that their accounts have been suspended regardless of their current age.
The move by Twitter is an attempt to comply with new rules implemented by the European Union, that now have far more stringent rules regarding data protection requirements for GDPR.
I thought GDPR was a Europe thing?
It is. However, while GDPR only affects EU citizens, the nature of social media and the location of data held on EU servers mean that Twitter may feel they have little choice. Techspot.com said in their coverage of the news that “since there is no way for Twitter to separate content that a user created before they turned 13 from later created content, the company’s only recourse to comply with GDPR is to suspend those whose birth dates place them under-aged when they signed up.”
For its part, Twitter has not publicly commented on the apparent blanket wide blocking.
In the meantime, users who have found themselves blocked can have their accounts reinstated by submitting formal proof of identification.
At the time of writing, Twitter was the only social media company who had appeared to take such drastic steps to comply with GDPR.