the byte community forums

Age Verification and Interaction Feature Suggestion For Both App and Forum

While using the https://www.hellotalk.com/?lang=en it requires one to verify age, if one lists 18 and up, one can only interact with people who are 18 and up, and if one listed below 18, one can only interact with people in that age range. The only reason I could see someone below the age of 18 interacting with kids is if you’re a business which sells products and services to children. You’d verify this by giving your EIN number, and another form of identification to prove you’re a business. In addition you’d have the option to interact with kids and adults if you’re a business. This greatly reduces not eliminates bad PR and reputation towards this app caused by some bad intentioned adults towards minors. @dom

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the forum policy is 13+ but i don’t really see any way of knowing for sure…

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I don’t really know if that’s a great idea because if you’re family with someone under 18 and you’re over, you can’t message them? I feel like there can be other ways to ensure children are safe

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Agreed. @billauckland If I’m seventeen when the app releases and my best friend is eighteen (lets say a few months older than me), wouldn’t that really suck if we couldn’t message, brainstorm, collaborate, etc? Or lets say a bigger adult creator wants to (appropriately) collaborate with a young adult or sponsor a young adult’s Byte. We could be losing out on major connections, major deals, and major boosts in our careers solely because of age.

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If you have family you can always text them, call them via phone,send them a letter along with other means. Trust me when I say this would be the better for the whole betterment, PR of this app. Hello talk did this along with some other apps with age restricitons. There’s enough people in the 18+ demographic to do this and of course you kids can say and do what you want without much worry.

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I understand where you’re coming from, but sometimes tough decisions have to be made for the better good. I’m not in control of this app, but if it were up to me that’s how I’d do it. No shade to the kids and teens on here who want to be on here, I’m just trying to look out for the greater PR and repuation on this app.

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Vine was powered and essentially ruled by teens and young adults (think David Dobrik, Lele Pons, Liza Koshy, etc). Without them we wouldn’t have some of the most influential and impactful stars that drew millions to the app. Some famous Vine teens are STILL minors… I think if we want Byte to be as great as Vine we’re going to need their traffic and young fans to join the app. This app isn’t being made for adults, it’s being made for everyone. I don’t think blocking off kids and teens from communications is going to help us become a strong community, only promote divisions within the app and produce unhappy users.

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I agree that the byte team has to ensure the online safety of minors as much as possible. However,

  • I don’t think the app has to be outright used strictly by 18+ users. Limiting the chance of young creatives to thrive using byte, especially for an app designed to allure the V*** community, just doesn’t make sense. :neutral_face::grey_question:
    • I thought about the app opening publicly as an 18+ and gradually start to let people under 18 enter the app until the app is 13+. However, even as a gradual change, most minors who signed up during these beginning stages of the public app might look at the content made previously and not like the app’s overall atmosphere and, therefore, stop using it. :confused:
  • I propose a better solution: limiting features based on birth date. If the user is a minor, features such as direct messages and private posts (both of the aforementioned being hypothetical examples) could be turned off until the user turns 18. :birthday:
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I feel like people will just lie (like on other apps, such as instagram and twitter), deeming it ineffective.

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Although this might happen, byte can encourage users to submit their real birth dates by:

  • reminders on the app to do so in order to avoid interacting with other users who might have negative intentions as much as possible
  • withholding from featuring users that have fake birth dates
  • applying a rule that states that users that lie about their birth dates might be suspended
  • making the date of birth something that can only be changed twice (one chance to change the birth date from a fake/false birth date to a real one and another chance in case of any mistakes made while changing the birth date the first time)
  • clarify that the byte team is not responsible for any harm caused to users who have a fake birth date
  • warn users about possible suspension if byte team is suspicious about a user having a falsified birth date, give them instructions on how to provide evidence that their birth date is real (preferable step for users who have more followers), and state that if their birth date isn’t changed, their accounts might get suspended
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What about a close in age policy? Rather than a strict cutoff of communication between those over 18 and those under 18. Make it so people can communicate with those 3 or 4 years older or younger than them until they turn 18. So a 16 year old can talk to someone as old as 19 or 20 and as young as 12 or 13, until they turn 18, at which point they can talk to people as much older than them as they want but not under 14 or 15 years old. This is similar to Canada’s close in age exeption in their age of consent laws, which has decreased sexual violence significantly since its implementation. I don’t know if I explained this very well but feel free to ask questions.

Edit: Honestly I would just prefer a well managed system to report people rather than any age restrictions in the app. But this is my suggestion from a minimally restrictive age based system.

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I mean idk I feel like that would just make kids less inclined to get the apps if there are crazy tight restrictions. You should just have the ability to report someone who’s acting strange or making you uncomfortable

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Yeah, crazy restrictions for this app that I’ve been highly anticipating would definitely turn me off. Safety should be an extremely important priority and there should be features in place to insure the safety of all ages that use the application, don’t get me wrong. But not being able to view and chat with some of my friends, even a few years older than me (ex: 19, 20) or even watch someones Bytes that are a lot older than me (ex: @TomWho, no offense haha) would kindof be a pretty big letdown. This app is about community, and I feel life safety and community go hand and hand. There has to be a way where kids can be safe while everyone still has a great time and enjoys Byte to its full potential.

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My reasoning for it is theres enough people in both demographics, to make this possible. The majority of these people leaving comments (surprisingly to me) are 18 and up. this is just my opinion at the end of the day and only dom and his staff will decide what to do.

Wasn’t suggesting an outright ban of people who are minors rather if you’re under 18 you can only see and interact with users who are 18. If you’re 18 you can only intereact and see users who are 18 and up. There’s enough people in both demographics for this to be possible. However it’s not up to me though. Dom and his staff wll ultimatley decide. They’ve done this on the hello talk app among others so I know its possible.

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I really like your suggestion as well… :face_with_monocle:

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The ability to report other accounts to content moderators is extremely important. Definitely not excluding that, just adding layers to this matter. :grin:

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The platforms have tried that and it’s not very effective. This just makes it safer and makes it a world for both creators. in both demographics. I’ve seen apps like hello talk among others do this. At the end of the day it’s not up to me and this is just my opinon.

Restricting parts of the app or other users based on age will never work because it’s so easy to lie about that. It’s extremely hard to prove someone’s age unless you force them to provide government-issued identification, which itself is fraught with problems (kids usually don’t have government-issued ID other than their birth certificate).

Younger teenagers can just say they’re 18, and if some older person is trying to creep on kids, they can also lie about their age and claim to be 15 and use fake photos. Proving age is nearly impossible to enforce online.

On Vine, most of the top creators were adults (18+) and most of their fans were teenagers. If you walled people off based on age, you’ll greatly limit the audience and participation, and that will just end up killing the app over time.

Instead…

  • Build robust tools to moderate and allow people to report questionable content.
  • Allow people to set preferences to avoid seeing adult-only content (I’m not talking about porn, that should be forbidden on Byte).
  • Add parental controls to the app so parents can prevent their kids from seeing restricted content and monitor their usage.
  • Use algorithms to detect unusual behavior and even scan videos for things like nudity or violence.
  • Have clear policies about what is and isn’t acceptable and enforce them evenly.

There are lots of other ways to approach this without segmenting people into boxes by age, which itself is not foolproof and would be difficult to enforce.

There are bad people in the world, and some of them will ALWAYS find a way to get around any barriers put in place to keep them out. But there are steps you can take to greatly reduce the risk to kids or women or anyone who is vulnerable to online predators with the right tools, the right policies, and a team of well-trained people who will watch for problems.

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This is probably the best solution I’ve seen

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