Twitter has started locking out users who created their accounts when they were underage, regardless of how old they are now.
Users who have recently updated their date of birth to reflect their current age are getting locked out if they were under 13 when the account was first created.
One such user, Tom Maxwell, recently shared his experience:
“Like many of my friends, I was a relatively early adopter of Twitter, signing up in 2008 when I was just 12-years old. Technically speaking this is a violation of the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)… Unfortunately, however, my age became a problem for me last night, despite the fact that today I’m 22, not 12. I updated my date of birth on Twitter to reflect my correct age and my account was promptly “locked.””
Apparently this is a widespread problem, which Twitter itself has acknowledged.
The locked accounts are related to updates to Twitter’s terms of service, which were made in order to comply with the new GDPR privacy laws.
“Put simply, Twitter is vanquishing the accounts of surely many valuable users worldwide because they chose to provide the company with data which shows they happened to be under 13 when they created their accounts years in the past.”
In a public statement, the Twitter Support team confirms the locked accounts are related to GDPR. However, the company did not expect this to happen.
“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.”
Tom Maxwell has not been successful in getting his Twitter account reinstated as of yet. Neither have many of the other users who recently had their accounts locked for the same reason.
One Reddit user has reported getting the age lock lifted after repeatedly sending in their ID to prove they’re currently old enough to use Twitter.
The Reddit thread is full of people who have been affected by the age lock. Seemingly none of them, aside from the original poster, have been successful in getting their accounts unlocked.
Twitter continues to promise users the issue will be resolved, but no action has been taken thus far.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!