Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat could be saying goodbye to likes and streaks

UK plans bar on Facebook likes for kids

UK plans bar on Facebook likes for kids

A top British regulator wants tough new rules to protect children from being exploited by tech companies, including a ban on under-18s "liking" posts on Facebook or being rewarded with Snapchat "streaks".

The ICO also says your data should not usually be shared, geolocation services (this is the technology that marks where a phone is on a map) should be switched of and you shouldn't be encouraged to weaken your privacy settings.

The code, now under consultation, puts forward 16 standards that social media companies should meet.

One of the ideas under consideration are rules about companies using "nudge" techniques to keep people online - this includes things like encouraging people to keep posting, like Snapchat does with streaks, or to collect more data about people by encouraging them to mark when they like something, as millions of people do on Facebook and Instagram everyday.

These include that settings must be set to "high privacy" by default without a compelling reason and that only the minimum amount of personal data should be collected.

The code will be the first of its kind, and will set "an worldwide benchmark", Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said.

The consultation is open until 31 May and the final version is expected to come into effect by 2020.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on Monday published a proposed "Code of Practice" to protect children's privacy online.

"We shouldn't have to prevent our children from being able to use it, but we must demand that they are protected when they do".

Baroness Beeban Kidron, the chair of the 5Rights Foundation, who lead the parliamentary debate about the creation of the recommendations, said the code represented "the beginning of a new deal between children and the tech sector". The ICO said it expects them to be law by the end of the year.

"For too long we have failed to recognise children's rights and needs online, with tragic outcomes", she said.

"That is what the code will require online services to do".

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