Italy has asked Facebook and Instagram for clarification on minors’ access to the two social networks, after a 10-year-old girl died during a “headscarf game” challenge on TikTok, announced Wednesday the ‘competent authority.
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The Independent Authority for the Protection of Personal Data “yesterday (Tuesday) opened a procedure concerning Facebook and Instagram”, she said in a press release, specifying that she had taken this decision “aimed at protecting minors on social networks after the case of the girl from Palermo and the blocking imposed on TikTok ”.
In the wake of the death of this girl, access to TikTok was blocked on Friday for users whose age is not guaranteed. This measure is in effect until February 15, when TikTok must have satisfied the demands of the Italian regulator.
This decision was taken urgently after the announcement of the death in Palermo (Sicily, south) of the 10-year-old girl, asphyxiated while filming herself with her mobile phone on TikTok.
However, the registration of the latter on the network, very popular among adolescents, “was not refused by the company” despite the age of the girl, lower than the 13 years minimum provided by TikTok, had criticized the Data Protection Authority.
The latter noted Wednesday that “several press articles reported that the girl would have several accounts open” on Facebook and Instagram.
“The Authority therefore asked Facebook, which also controls Instagram, to provide a series of information, including how many profiles the minor had and, if this was confirmed, to explain how it had been possible for a minor under ten. years of registering on both social networks ”.
The Authority “asked above all for precise indications on the terms of registration to the two social networks and on the procedures for verifying the age of users adopted to monitor compliance with the minimum age to be able to register”. Facebook has 15 days to respond to these requests.
According to the Authority, “the current checks will be extended to other social networks, in particular concerning the modalities of access for minors”.
This same body had already launched proceedings against TikTok in December 2019, criticizing it for its “lack of attention to the protection of minors, the ease of circumventing the ban on registering for the little ones and the lack of transparency and clarity of the information given to users as well as the predefined settings that do not respect privacy ”.