San Francisco, 13 September 2018 - The Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has raised the findings of this week's CyberSafeIreland study directly with Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg when they met at Facebook's Headquarters in California. The CyberSafeIreland study shows over half of nine-year-olds are using social media, despite age restrictions on most platforms. The research also revealed that almost a fifth of children talk to strangers online every day.
The Minister asked Ms. Sandberg to explain in practical terms how the age verification system operates on Facebook platforms. He impressed upon her the need for technological innovation in this area to protect against circumvention of age restrictions on their platforms. Ms. Sandberg outlined Facebook's policies and actions in addressing underage profiles which includes blocking accounts reported or suspected as being underage. Facebook executives committed to the Minister that they would review their age verification policies on an ongoing basis and will update mechanisms where appropriate.
Minister Naughten also held face to face talks with Google's senior executives at Google's Headquarters in California.
Minister Naughten brought the results of the CyberSafeIreland study to the attention of Google's Trust and Safety Division. Google highlighted its Google Family Link Service to the Minister which is a tool that parents can use to protect children from accessing age inappropriate content. Minister Naughten asked Google to develop this service further in order to strengthen the support for parents to ensure children do not access age inappropriate apps and content.