Starting next month.
Governments all over the world have started pushing for ways to collect ID on social media users, often under the guise of providing a safe space for kids online.
In about a month, Australian users will be asked to provide age verification documents like a driver’s license, passport, or credit card to access age-restricted content on the Play Store and YouTube.
The move complies with the “Online Safety Declaration 2022,” which requires platforms to verify age before allowing users to see age-restricted content.
The announcement was made in a blog post written by Google’s government affairs and public policy senior manager Samantha Yorke, who explained the change is meant to give users “age appropriate experiences.”
“As part of this process some Australian users may be asked to provide additional proof of age when attempting to watch mature content on YouTube or downloading content on Google Play,” the blog post stated.
“If our systems are unable to establish that a viewer is above the age of 18, we will request that they provide a valid ID or credit card to verify their age.”
The company said that uploads of the age verification documents would be “securely stored, won’t be made public, and would be deleted,” after the verification is complete.
However, it will use the uploaded documents to “improve our verification services for Google products and protect against fraud and abuse.”
People attempting to watch age-restricted content on third-party websites will be redirected to YouTube for age verification.
“It helps ensure that, no matter where a video is discovered, it will only be viewable by the appropriate audience,” Yorke wrote.
The European Union has already enforced the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which has age verification requirements similar to Australia’s Online Safety Declaration 2022.
Meta is also working on parental supervision tools on both Instagram and Quest. The company wants guardians and parents to be “more involved in their teens’ experiences.”
The parental supervision tool on Instagram, which allows parents to control how much time is spent on the app, has already rolled out in the US. The supervision tool also notifies parents when their kid reports someone and allows them to see who their kids have followed and who has followed them back.
By Ken Macon