Many countries around the world have laws that mean that children cannot participate in social media without their parents' permission. These laws protect children from harassment or exploitation.
Because of these laws—and because we care about child welfare—we ask your year of birth when you sign up. And, also because of these laws, if you are under sixteen years old, you will not be able to use Planetary.
What are the laws?
In the United States, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act says online services cannot collect personal information of anyone under the age of 13 without parental consent.
In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation states that each EU country must stop companies collecting information of children under 16 without permission - although it does give member states the flexibility to lower that age to 13 if they choose. Other countries have similar regulations.
How does this apply to Planetary?
We aim to collect as little information as is practical. However, for the network to work at all, we have to collect some. For example, if you publish a public post on Planetary, it will by default be published to one of our servers so other people can see it. This counts as us collecting information, and makes us subject to COPPA and GDPR laws.
Where can I find out more about how my data is used?
Why do you ask for my birth year and not birthday?
In order to protect user privacy we will only ask for the year in which you are born. This means we may end up treating someone born on January 1st as up to a year younger than they actually are.