Things like profile picture, name and username are considered personally identifiable, but there’s a lot of value in anonymized aggregate profile data for this audience, which has historically been difficult to reach. The data just isn’t there, Mirken said.
For example, during a focus group, Jet spoke with one 10-year-old girl who said that she and her friends always enter “8-8-88” as their fake birthday when they sign up for things because it’s easy to remember. But that means a 10-year-old is likely being targeted with content that’s appropriate for a 28-year-old. It’s first-party data, but it’s willfully inaccurate.
According to a report from BBC Newsround in February, roughly 75% of children between the ages of 10 and 12 have a social media profile, despite the fact that most services don’t allow anyone under 13 to join.
“The fact of the matter is, if kids can’t be themselves on chat apps and portals, they’ll be forever mismatched with content they actually want to see,” said Mirken, who noted that her own 12-year-old nephew signed up for Snapchat by saying he was born in 1968.
“When I heard that, I thought, ‘Well, you’re about to see a lot of stuff that doesn’t at all match who you are and what you love,’” she said.