Facebook Enables Demographic Restrictions for Developers

Facebook announced today that is has enabled two new Facebook Platform features that enable developers to restrict access to certain application content – or the entire application itself – from users fitting certain demographic profiles.

Demographic restrictions have been requested by two camps of developers:

  1. Those who have licensed content or games only in certain geographic regions – like the US and Canada but not the rest of the world.
  2. Those who want to limit access to certain application content or experiences to users of a certain age group – like under 18 or over 21.

Facebook’s new “Demographic Restrictions” APIs will enable developers to limit access to users according to any combination of age and location restrictions.

So, how exactly is Facebook going about implementing these restrictions? Facebook says it will be using “a combination of what information a user has entered and verified on Facebook as well as IP targeting” for location. Furthermore, Facebook says that developers should not rely on Facebook to implement any restrictions developers are legally obligated to.

[Developers] must use this technology whenever Facebook policies require it… but you can and should consider implementing additional consent or confirmation in your application as appropriate. For example, if for legal reasons your application requires the user to affirm that they are of a certain age or are in a certain location, you should continue to solicit that explicit affirmation, and not regard the fact that the user passed through the Demographic Restrictions as equivalent.

Developers can check the page on the Dev Wiki for more details.