This was one of the key measures of the bill “aiming to establish a numerical majority and to fight against online hatred”. This Thursday, Parliament definitively adopted the obligation for social networks to verify the age of their users and to obtain the consent of parents, when they are under 15 years old. After a final unanimous vote in the National embly, the senators also adopted this Thursday, and unanimously, the bill.
Its date of entry into force will have to be fixed by decree, after an opinion from the European Commission on its conformity with EU law. THE social networks will then have one year to comply with their obligations.
Must-have parental permission
In detail, article 2 of this law explains that “providers of online social network services carrying out their activity in France refuse registration to their services of minors under the age of fifteen, unless the authorization for this registration is given by one of the holders of parental authority over the minor”.
Thus, without this endort, it will be practically impossible for the young people concerned to register on a social network, or more broadly a digital platform. In the event of a breach, the law provides for a fine of up to 1% of the worldwide turnover of the social network concerned.
The verification method in question
Another provision to note in the text: parental consent must also be obtained for accounts already held by persons under 15 years of age. An obligation which will come into force two years after the promulgation of the law.
To apply the obligation to verify the age of users, the text’s rapporteur and senator LR Alexandra Borchio-Fontimp suggested taking a model from “what is done for sports betting platforms”, namely verification at using an identity card at the time of registration. But in this case, the law does not set in stone this verification device. A stumbling block which has also been highlighted several times during the debates. For its part, Arcom enjoins the platforms to use “technical solutions in accordance with a reference system”.
A first registration at 8 and a half years old
Today, a large majority of social networks require a minimum age of 13 to register, but the deputies and senators who have worked on the text have insisted on the fact that the protection systems for minors of these companies are often too disparate. , unequal, even incomplete.
For the Parliament, it was all the more important to act since 46% of children aged 6 to 10 already have a smartphone, according to the e-Enfance ociation. And according to data from the National Commission for Computing and Liberties, in France, the first registration on social networks would occur on average around 8 and a half years. Moreover, more than half of 10-14 year olds are enrolled.