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Facebook and Instagram May Be Forced to Remove Likes for Users Under 18

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Facebook and Instagram May Be Forced to Remove Likes for Users Under 18
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Social networks may have to prevent users under the age of 18 from liking posts, according to new privacy rules.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK has drafted a code of practice to protect children’s safety online.

One of the rules in the code would prevent tech companies from using “nudge” techniques.

Nudge techniques are defined as anything that would encourage young people to provide unnecessary personal data, weaken or turn off their privacy protections, or extend their use.

So that means social networks would have to remove likes for young people because data is collected whenever someone clicks the like button.

These rules would also affect Snapchat’s streaks, which encourage users to send snaps back and forth every day.

The code of practice is designed around having companies collect the minimum amount of data on users.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement:

“This is the connected generation. The internet and all its wonders are hardwired into their everyday lives. 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.”

This is a first-of-its-kind proposal which is currently out for consultation.

Experts and members of the public can provide feedback and have a say in whether or not the code is approved.

If the code is approved, the rules would apply to companies that offer services in the UK, even if they’re based elsewhere.

Companies that violate the code could face fines up to 4% of their global revenue.

The consultation is open until May 31. If approved, the final version is expected to come into effect in 2020.

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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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