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Age Verification Comes to Twitter

It is a common occurrence to be barred from entering a wine related website until you have confirmed your birthdate, or at least confirmed you are of legal drinking age in your country.

On Facebook it is already possible to stop under-age members from seeing certain content.

However, until now this could not be done on Twitter and the only way to conform to the letter of the law in certain countries, was to post ineffective notes on your profile such as “By following you confirm you’re of legal drinking age”, or worse, annoy real and legal followers with messages threatening to block them if they did not confirm their ages (as was explored here in November after an experience with Beaulieu Vineyards)

Twitter, in partnership with BuddyMedia (a social marketing suite of tools for large brands), have now launched and integrated an age verification service as part of the Twitter experience. From today brands can sign up to for Age Verification via https://age.twitter.com/ which will enforce rules that they describe as “consistent with standard industry practices”.

Expect to be sent a Direct Message (DM) if you decide to follow a wine brand that will direct you to a site where you will have to enter your date of birth before being approved. If you happen to fail it (because you are underage, under-attentive or under the influence) you will be forever blocked by that account. However, assuming you do pass, the good news is that you will not have to go through the process again for other Age Verified accounts. [more details from The Next Web]

What is not clear what happens if you make a mistake and need to correct the age associated with your twitter account.

These “standard industry practices” may be completely ineffective, and misguided, but until law-makers see sense this is here to stay and expect this to spread quite quickly amongst the brands owned by large multinational drinks companies keen to prove their ‘Responsibility’ credentials.

It will also probably not be long until the age verification process includes some external auditing and confirmation (from Facebook, or other online resources) which will increase its accuracy but raise many privacy issues.

Why not consider creating an alternative age verification system - it may be more likely to be effective.

Oh, and for the record, if you are under 18 in the UK, or 21 in the USA, you should not have read any of this in case you should be encouraged to drink excessively simply through discovering that alcohol brands exist.

Please drink and market responsibly!

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