If bouncers always give you a hard time when carding you at a bar, well, now you have another digital bouncer to get through.
Twitter has just rolled out a new verification feature that will require users to verify their age when they want to follow an alcohol company. Say, if you go to Heineken's page, for example, and hit the follow button, you'll get a direct message that will ask you for your date of birth. If you're not of age, or haven't responded to the request within 24 hours, then you won't be able to get updates, in this case, from your favorite Dutch beer company. This is actually a bigger roll out of a feature that the company introduced at a smaller scale before, at least for the Guinness page (when I tried to follow it a few months back.)
The age-verification is supposed to help advertisers feel better about kids and teens being able to access adult content through the service. It begs the question, what's the harm in just following a brand, in comparison to all of the other alcohol advertising that gets thrown at children and teens without their having a choice? For example, drive down any highway and count how many Bud Light or Miller billboards you'll see—where's the concern about how many children will see those in that situation? Think about how many beer commercials are seen by children during Monday Night Football.
Of course, Twitter isn't in charge of ads outside of their network, but it's interesting that they feel the need to do something about it, especially when a lot of these brand's tweets aren't anything different from what we see on television. If anything, by looking at this through a different angle, Twitter's move should get us to think about other marketing techniques, and what audiences these companies are reaching through mediums where age and other metrics can't be specifically tracked (like TV, posters, and billboards.) Are they really that bad? I can't remember the last time seeing a Guinness pop up in a tweet made me want to drink a Guinness.
Either way, just like how underage drinkers turn to fake IDs to get into bars, all a Twitter user has to do is enter a fake birthdate and they can follow as many alcohol brands they want.