Facebook and Instagram take tougher stance on underage kids

Moderators are being told to lock the accounts of those suspected to be children.

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Facebook and Instagram moderators are being told to take a proactive approach to users they believe to be underage.

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Facebook and Instagram instructed their moderators to take a tougher stance on underage kids.

The social media giant's reviewers are being instructed to lock the accounts of people they suspect are younger than 13, according to TechCrunch, even if the person's account is reported for something else. Previously, Facebook only deleted the accounts of children younger than 13 if someone reported them for their age. 

The change follows Channel 4's documentary Inside Facebook: Secrets of a Social Network, which aired Tuesday night and saw an undercover reporter becoming a Facebook content reviewer through Dublin-based company CPL Resources. In the documentary report, a reviewer says they were told to ignore users who appear underage.

People whose accounts are locked must prove their age with government-issued ID to regain access. Facebook also detailed its updated guidance on minors in a blog post responding to the Channel 4 documentary.

Facebook had no further comment beyond the blog post.

The documentary also showed how far-right pages on Facebook managed to avoid deletion due to a process known as "shielded review," which the company noted had been renamed "cross check" to more accurately reflect the process.

In April, Facebook updated its Messenger Kids spinoff app -- which is designed specifically for children aged 12 and under -- to add a "sleep mode," which allows parents to set parameters for when their kids can and can't use the app.

On Thursday, the company detailed how it's managed to grow its computing infrastructure to support the 2.2 billion people who use it.

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