Roblox, in the wake of serious criticism and a filing by TINA (Truth in Advertising) has brought in new rules to block any users under 13 from seeing advertising.
The new regulations means that affected users will be prevented from seeing any advertising on the platform. Roblox has a massive user base of young people, particularly under 13’s, and their exposure to advertising has been a major point of contention for critics of the platform. However, as TINA did when praising this move, some have pointed out that these regulations do not seem to be enough given previous attempts at applying stricter guidelines.
Colin Campbell at GameDaily.biz in particular commented that “this is not the first time that Roblox has seemingly tried to stamp out surreptitious advertising to kids. In October last year, the company said it was blocking under 13s from seeing ads. But it turned out that any advertiser tagging an ad as appropriate for everyone, continued to reach those many kids whose settings did not specifically block them.”
Roblox’ effort to restrict teenagers from seeing advertising is not solely - or perhaps even partially - due to moral or ethical concerns on their part. However, the mounting criticism they have faced has surely raised the risk of legislative bodies stepping in. Preempting this with self-regulation, even those that may fall short, helps protect the platform from future action.
Still, these policies do seem the most firm so far. As Roblox particularly preempts misuse of their own tools to circumvent the policies, “Publishers may not misuse Roblox tools such as PolicyService API to deliver advertising content to users who are not allowed to see it, including users under the age of 13.” This seems quite definitive…but will it be enough? As many observers are saying, this will only be clear once these changes go into effect on June 5th.
We listed Roblox as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.