The UK versus social media. The UK wants social media to stop using “nudge” techniques, including Facebook’s “Like” button and Snapchat streaks, for kids under 18. These recommendations are part of a new 16-rule code of practice for age-appropriate design drafted by the UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They have other suggestions as well. Like turning location-tracking off by default for younger users, “robust” age-verification systems, they want to limit how children’s data is collected, used, and shared, and informing kids if parents are monitoring their online activity.
The ICO says the code is the result of views and evidence gathered from designers, app developers, academics and civil society. They also interviewed 280 children for research. Since these proposals build upon the safeguards in the EU’s GDPR legislation if you fail to comply you would face the same punishments, including fines of up 20 million Euros ($23 million) or 4 percent of a company’s annual global turnover, whichever is higher. Those are some pretty steep fines.
They follow through too. The ICO previously gave Facebook a £500,000 fine for its part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The UK also wants to hold internet platforms accountable for the content published on their sites.
How they will enforce these proposals, we don’t know. A consultation on the draft regulations will last until the end of May, and the final version of the code of practice may come into effect by 2020.