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Twitter strengthens ID checks to stop underage drinkers seeing boozy Tweets

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Twitter has taken the odd step of enhancing its age verification routines so that alcohol vendors can “connect with an age-appropriate audience”.

The routines remain laughable. Vulture South used Twitter's Android app to follow @Budlight, the Twitter presence of US “beer” Bud Light. The app asked for input of your correspondent's birthdate. I duly chose a day in 1928, ageing myself by 40 years. The app accepted that date without any further challenge.

Twitter says “Our hope is that this approach to age-screening will enable alcohol brands to responsibly and safely connect with the right audience on Twitter,” a nice sentiment given advertisers aren't keen to reach audiences that can't legally buy their products.

Twitter's announcement steers clear of any moralising, but with social networks under fire for facilitating all sorts of anti-social behaviour a glance between the lines could suggest the age verification enhancement is the kind of thing Twitter could use as a fig leaf with which to hide ugly truths during future controversies.

If that's the intention or hope, it's a pretty small fig leaf: it's not as if those below the legal drinking age won't encounter messages about booze in a million other media. The notion that Twitter is not just helping advertisers but also acting responsibly to steer impressionable youth from a booze-guzzling lifestyle will be hard to sustain.

And then there are the tweets like the below that advocate taking the alcohol OUT of beer, by boiling it:

Hang on! Did Twitter just cut budding chefs off from free information that would improve their skills? Stay tuned for the avian network's next trick: profession-based-exemptions to the booze ban. ®

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