Owais Masood 1st August 2018
I’ve been on Twitter for nine years now and it’s easily my favourite social media site. I can stay up to date with the news, thanks to the trending page and Twitter moments, I can see what my favourite people are up to — and, of course, the memes.
On Twitter, I don’t have to see the sixth person in a row post their ultrasound pictures or posts about selling phones with cracked screens, like on Facebook. Neither will I have to worry about why I can’t get more than 30 likes on a picture or see people with perfect bodies living their perfect lives, destroying my already fragile self-esteem, like on Instagram. Twitter is for the funny people, the informed people and the spectators who like to retweet everything.
In fact, I didn’t have a bad word to say about Twitter until I got locked out of my account.
I made my Twitter account when I was 12 and I lied about my date of birth
Twitter policy says you must be 13 or older to tweet or make an account on the social media site. I made my Twitter account when I was 12, and I lied about my date of birth. After a few years on the site, I tried to change my date of birth to my correct one. Within seconds after changing my DOB, I was locked out of my account — and I wasn’t the only one.
Twitter did release a statement about the situation which said: “We recently made product changes tied to new privacy laws (GDPR) and became aware of accounts that were set up by people when they were younger than 13. We didn’t expect this. These accounts were automatically locked, and we created additional confusion by sending messages to people saying that they’re still under 13 (when many are now older) and need to close their accounts.
“Our rules don’t allow anyone under 13 to tweet or create a Twitter account, so we’re working on a technical solution to delete those Tweets and allow the impacted account holders to continue on Twitter.”
Meanwhile, the General Data Protection Regulation law states that, “Children can consent to data processing if they are over 16 years old. If they are under 16 years old, a parent can consent to processing on their behalf. Member States will be able to set lower ages, although not below 13 years old.”
This law was enforced on 25 May 2018. It’s not clear at all, but after seeing both statements, I decided to wait it out to see if they can find a solution.
Even though now I’m 21, I have to get consent from my parents for using Twitter
However, two weeks later, my account was still locked and the Twitter withdrawals were getting too much. So, I decided to find a solution, myself. The only solution I could find was to fill out a “form” in which my parents have to give consent for me to use Twitter. Even though now I’m 21, I have to get consent from my parents to use social media. Someone at Twitter HQ didn’t think this through.
This is especially annoying because its new sign-up requires users to tick a box to say they’re over 13, rather than inputting their date of birth — something that kids could easily get round.
Now, let’s talk about this form. It’s riddled with issues — it doesn’t ask you to confirm your age, all it wants is two official documents. Some sort of ID from your parent and a legal document that shows that they are your parent. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! I have had to send this form numerous times. Twitter has asked me to resend pictures of the documents, as well as asking for more forms of ID. One time I tried to send off the form they couldn’t locate my profile but when I used a different device they could locate it. It’s baffling.
Dare I suggest that Twitter perhaps just let me back into my account to delete my 12-year-old tweets (mostly to famous people telling them how much of a big fan I am)? Or would that be a little too complicated?
For a site known for its communication, it is kind of ironic that you can’t speak to anyone
When you try to get in contact with an actual person you get an automatic reply telling you to fill out the form again. For a site known for its communication, it is kind of ironic that you can’t speak to anyone about this issue. The last time I filled out this form, I was asked to send more pictures of the documents which I did and then no one got back to me. Four days later and I still haven’t heard anything back. It should not take this long to look at two pictures to verify if these are the right documents. So I have no choice to fill out the form again and wait for a reply. Until then it’s back to Facebook — anyone need a slightly used Blackberry Torch 9800?
Owais Masood 1st August 2018