Twitter users see accounts suspended after falling for hoax

Posted on March 29, 2019

 

Microblogging site Twitter has issued a warning to its users after learning about a hoax spreading around the site.

The latest prank to be going around the site suggests that a user can change their date of birth to the year 2007, and once they have done this they will have unlocked a different colour scheme for their app. However, the company has confirmed that this is not the case and will see users’ accounts suspended. This is because changing the year of birth will tell the site that the user is 12 years old. As Twitter does not allow anyone under the age of 13 to join the network, these accounts will be locked.

Twitter made this announcement in a tweet advising its users to ignore the suggestion and not to try doing it.

The BBC asked the company how many people have fallen for this trick so far. However, Twitter was unwilling to comment or share data surrounding the hoax.

The site has been automatically preventing users who are not at least 13 years old from joining the site for almost 12 months now, after introducing it in May last year. Furthermore, the site’s terms of use clearly state that the networking is specifically not for children to use.

The introduction of this feature coincided with the launch of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) on May 25th last year. These guidelines state that companies are not allowed to enter into contracts of service with anyone under the age of 13 in the European Union, without receiving parental permission beforehand.

For anyone who has succumbed to the hoax and has found themselves locked out of their accounts, Twitter has stated that these users should have received an email giving them instructions on what they can do to recover their account, or they can fill out an online form.

The hoax has now been circulating the site for a couple of days, with one particular tweet promoting the prank having around 20,000 retweets since it was tweeted on Monday. When reporting on the situation, the BBC found that users were still posting updates about the hoax, stating that a new design can be unlocked.

The reaction of those falling for the prank have been varied, with some taking it in good humour with others not seeing the funny side of the situation, as they had lost access to their profiles.

Alan Littler

Account Executive at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Account Executive.

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