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Teenage Social Media Users in the UK Could Be Banned From ‘Liking’ Posts

One News Page Staff Tuesday, 16 April 2019 ()
Teenage Social Media Users in the UK Could Be Banned From ‘Liking’ Postsby 👨‍💻 Simon Baxendale

There have been recent moves made in UK law to try and make social media more accountable for the data and information shared on such platforms. It is all in the name of protecting sensitive users, particularly young children and those under the age of 18, from seeing potentially harmful content. Recent news, however, suggests that the UK may be set to go one step further – and to curb who can ‘like’ or interact with certain posts.

According to BBC News, it has emerged that the UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has made recommendations that services such as Instagram and Facebook outright ban under 18s from ‘liking’ posts and shared content. They have also recommended that Snapchat, too, implements a feature where users below the age of 18 will be unable to build up ‘streaks’ on the platform.

The ICO has made a number of recommendations in a move to encourage social media to make a more concerted effort in protecting its younger users. The firm has also suggested that privacy and sharing explanations should be offered up in simple language and in ‘bite-sized’ segments. They should, the ICO argues, also concentrate on setting privacy controls to the highest possible available by default. There has also been encouragement to switch off location tracking once each active social media session has ended.

While the ICO is yet to fully implement such suggestions, it is being suggested that platforms and firms which fail to comply with such measures could face fines of up to 20 million Euros, or just over $22.6 million. If 4% of their global turnover is worth more, they will be fined this amount instead.

UK Floats Ban on Facebook Likes, Snapchat Streaks for Minors
UK Floats Ban on Facebook Likes, Snapchat Streaks for Minors
[video: Newsy Studio]

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham was clear on her office’s intentions to support children, rather than to restrict what they have access to. “The internet and all its wonders are hardwired into their everyday lives,” she advised. “We shouldn’t have to prevent our children from being able to use it, but we must demand that they are protected when they do. This code does that.”

Facebook ‘likes’, for example, have been criticized as they share more personal data about the user than they may have bargained for. It is features and functionality like this, it is argued, which may also contribute to dependency on smart devices and social media. It is thought that should such proposals be honored, they will be looking for implementation in 2020.

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