After the European Union’s new data privacy regulations came into effect on May 25, Twitter started suspending users who, it believes, joined the platform before turning 13, the media reported. But the process has become messy as this latest wave of suspension has affected many adults, including journalists, technology website Motherboard reported on Wednesday. Among those affected is Canadian journalist Tom Yun, who is older than 13, the report said.
Twitter notified Yun that “in order to create a Twitter account, you must be at least 13 years old” and “you don’t meet these age requirements”, according to notifications from the microblogging site shared by the journalist on a new Twitter account. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulates that the age of consent for using online services should not be lower than 13.
The Motherboard report said that some users did not enter a date of birth when they signed up on Twitter, but added it to their profile later. Twitter cannot legally keep content on its platform that was created by someone under the age of 13, but at the same time it cannot separate content created before age 13 and after, according to the company. So the microblogging site opted to suspend users whose provided date of birth indicates they were under the age of 13 when they signed up.
Although suspended users who are now eligible to sign up for the service can create a new account, the process of new suspensions reveals the repercussion for Twitter not enforcing its own rules regarding the minimum age as Twitter has long required that users must be over 13 years old to use the service.