Facebook and Instagram need to do more to prevent Children’s personal information appearing online.
Business Accounts on Instagram or Facebook should be unavailable to children, a Fine Gael TD has said. Deputy Emer Higgins, Fine Gael’s Spokesperson on Social Media and FinTech, who represents Dublin Mid West, said it’s essential that more screening is done at the point of sign up. Deputy Higgins said “Social Media companies make it too easy for children to create unverified business accounts. This simply should not happen considering children are the most vulnerable internet users”.
“Teenagers often prefer to open business accounts to increase their viewers, engagement and reach. When setting up a business account, it is not clear what data will be presented to the outside world and frankly, children don’t care that their information may be shared inappropriately. However, I don’t think banning under 16s from social media is the answer, rather we must censor the content available to them. “The answer to this? Don’t show this option to children, make it more difficult to create a business profile, validate businesses and create a slightly different Instagram platform for children, similar to youtube for kids.
“There needs to be a two-pronged approach to this. Education and more Verification. But we need to ensure that education is coming from reliable and relatable sources to make a real impact upon children. We need to take a collaborative approach between government, social media companies and NGO’s like Webwise to outline the dangers in providing personal details online. “If 93% of children between 8 and 12 own a smart device, according to a recent Cybersafe Ireland survey, we need to ensure that social media companies have stricter safeguarding procedures in place”, said Deputy Higgins. “I think its correct for the Data Protection Commissioner to be looking into this. The safety of our children online has to be taken seriously and there’s a reason that European GDPR rules are rightfully stricter when dealing with children’s data.
“Its not good enough for Facebook to say ‘we’ve always been clear that when people choose to set up a business account on Instagram, their contact information would be publicly shared’, We need to know what Facebook are going to do to ensure that vulnerable children are not sharing their personal information on their platform.” “Perhaps a fine of up to 4% of Facebook’s annual turnover which would be around €3 billion would highlight the issue as one of major concern,” concluded Deputy Higgins.