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Want to follow booze brands? First convince Twitter you're 21

Twitter has added an age-verification system that forces people wanting to follow manufacturers of booze to assert they're of legal drinking age.

Twitter has launched an age-verification system tied to makers of booze. Twitter

Want to make sure you don't miss crucial tweets from Bud Light like "Cheers to a short week with a tall can #25oz?" Just follow @BudLight. But before you do, you'll have to promise Twitter that you're over 21.

Monday, Twitter launched an age-verification system designed to ensure that booze brands can more appropriately "connect with an age-appropriate audience."

Presumably, Twitter is looking for ways to work more closely with big brands, especially ones that cater to desirable demographics, as it tries to boost revenue in the wake of its recent IPO.

The idea is clearly to mimic the systems that many alcoholic beverage makers have on their Web sites. Generally speaking, those systems ask that users provide their birth date before being allowed to visit the site, although they work strictly on the honor system given that there's no easy way to confirm that people are as old (or young) as they claim to be.

Similarly, Twitter's new system will ask users who want to follow participating brands to state their age. "Once you have successfully passed the age-screen," Twitter wrote in a blog post, "your follower status will be confirmed."

The first brands to incorporate the new system are Jim Beam, Heineken, Bacardi, Bud Light, and Knob Creek. One would expect others to sign on before too long, given that Twitter promises that it's easy to add the system and that major brands likely want to be seen as responsible corporate citizens.

For its part, Twitter said that once someone confirms their age using the system, they won't have to do so again in the future. But in a nod to users' interest in privacy, the company said that although it will remember that users are over 21, it won't store their birth date.

The system works on Twitter's Web site, and on its iOS and Android apps.