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Twitter vows to reinstate some accounts suspended by age restrictions

Accounts created by those under 13 were frozen due to GDPR, but some of those users are a bit older now.

aap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter is trying to help some users reinstate accounts that were recently locked due to a collision of new EU privacy rules and the platform's own age restrictions.

Twitter's rules prohibit anyone under the age of 13 to create accounts. The changes, which the social media platform made in response to a recently enacted EU privacy protection law, automatically began locking down accounts of users who identified themselves as being under the age of 13 at the time their account was created. Problem is, some of them are now old enough to use the platform.

Twitter said in a series of tweets Tuesday that it was caught off-guard by the lockouts.

"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," Twitter Support said. "We didn't expect this."

The General Data Protection Regulation is a sweeping law that gives residents of the European Union more control over their personal data and seeks to clarify rules and responsibilities for online services with European users. The regulation expands the scope of what companies must consider personal data, and it requires them to closely track the data they've stored on EU residents.

Because the GDPR applies to any organization that collects, processes, manages or stores the data of European citizens, it essentially sets a new global standard for data protection that applies to most major online services and businesses.

As a result of changes Twitter made to adhere to the new rules, it started suspending underage accounts on May 25, sending the users a message explaining the move.

"I received a message saying my account was now locked, and would require parental consent in order to process my data, or my account will be deleted," a 20-year-old user, who had signed up for an account with a fake age before later changing it to the actual one, told the Guardian.

Twitter said Tuesday it's working on a solution that will allow those impacted users to remain on the service.

"In the meantime, we're reaching out to people impacted with options to unlock their account and continue to use Twitter," the company said in one of its tweets. "Instructions from us will come during the coming week."

It wasn't clear why the accounts in question weren't rejected at the time of original registration.

Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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