Social media faces a privacy “paradox” in detecting underage users

Social media faces a privacy

Social media platforms that are under pressure to protect their children from harmful content face a dilemma. Finding out the age of a user without invading privacy. Congressman and a group of stakeholders are looking for a platform to protect young users while protecting young users from body image and other content that can cause psychological problems. Such data protection depends in part on knowing the age of social media users, even if children under the age of 13 are lying about platforms such as Meta Platform Inc.’s Instagram and ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok. Connecting Data protection advocates fear that trying to determine a child’s actual age by analyzing information that confirms or estimates the child’s identity undermines the goal of protecting and protecting personal information. “It’s a paradox,” said John Karras, director of technology projects at the Nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation. “If your true identity follows you in everything you search for, it’s a violation of privacy,” according to a study released earlier this year by Irish research center Lero, 4,444 under the age of 13. A person’s child is usually not allowed on social media, but can bypass the birthday-based age screen. Other automated mechanisms for eliminating underage users are based on clues such as birthday wishes posted to your account. Posts and accounts that users like and follow can also be used to estimate age. “There are many signals that children are sending out what the company is already analyzing,” said Josh Golin, managing director of the children’s aid group Fairplay. Despite the challenge of understanding the age of children online, Meta Platforms Inc.’s Instagram deleted more than 850,000 accounts in the third quarter of 2021 and failed to prove that it was the minimum age. .. TikTok used keywords and other methods to monitor children under the age of 13 and removed more than 11 million suspected minor accounts in the second quarter of 2021. Recognized age limit companies must comply with federal law on online data protection for children if they know that children under the age of 13 are using their platform. Known as COPPA, this law gives parents control over the information that online platforms can collect about their children. Children’s advocates argue that tighter standards of knowledge are needed to prevent businesses from blinding children who shouldn’t be on their platform. The law proposed by the Senate (p.1628) will raise legal expectations for social media companies to know that their children are on their platform. It’s clear that children’s websites and apps need to be COPPA compliant, but compliance is a bigger challenge for mixed audience platforms, a partner of Hunton Andrews Kurth, who previously ran the Federal Trade Commission. Phyllis Marcus says. Online privacy. This includes apps like TikTok that are popular with teens and young kids. In 2019, TikTok agreed to pay $ 5.7 million to resolve FTC’s allegations of collecting personal information from children in violation of COPPA. FTC claimed that the app knew that a significant percentage of users were under the age of 13, and received thousands of complaints from parents that children under the age of 13 created an account. “Therefore, FTC has some room to define what is aimed at children,” Marcus said. After comparing , TikTok has added a section to the app for children under the age of 13 that includes additional security and privacy features. Recently, TikTok has changed the privacy settings of users aged 13 to 17 to give them more control over how they share videos and messages. TikTok is strengthening its age requirement by training its security moderation team to look for signs that account holders may be minors, according to a company blog post in May. The app also uses keywords and reports from other users to identify and delete accounts as needed, the company said in a post. FTC is working on updating the rules to implement COPPA. Alvaro Bedoya, who elected FTC’s vacant seats by President Joe Biden, said he wanted to prioritize the privacy of his children. The Commission remains constrained by legal restrictions, but rule updates may provide an opportunity to push the boundaries of knowledge standards. Instagram Ideas Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said at a committee hearing on December 8 that US Senators lacked IDs such as driver’s licenses that infants could use to verify their age. I pointed out. Moseri suggested that it’s easier for parents to tell their age on their child’s phone than to decipher the app. “It’s a really fascinating idea,” said Gorin of Fairplay, adding that “it’s worth exploring.” According to a blog post, Meta is discussing the potential of collaboration with other companies in the tech industry to enable operating systems and Internet browsers to share information “in a privacy-friendly manner.” Dated July. A meta-spokesperson confirmed that the company was considering the idea, but declined further comments. Apple Inc. And Alphabet Inc. Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether to pursue such features in mobile phone operating systems.