Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat could be saying goodbye to likes and streaks

Last updated at 07:15
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Instagram and Snapchat could be forced to make big changes for young users under possible new rules.

The Information Commissioner's Office (known as the ICO) is a group that works for MPs and investigates ways to keep people safe online.

They've come up with sixteen rules they believe will help keep young people safe on the internet, and have put their ideas out for a 'consultation' - which means experts and members of the public can let them know what they think of the plan.

One of the ideas under consideration are rules about companies using "nudge" techniques to keep people online - this includes things like encouraging people to keep posting, like Snapchat does with streaks, or to collect more data about people by encouraging them to mark when they like something, as millions of people do on Facebook and Instagram everyday.

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Under the suggested new rules, "high privacy" must become the standard with only a small amount of personal data being collected or kept.

The ICO also says your data should not usually be shared, geolocation services (this is the technology that marks where a phone is on a map) should be switched of and you shouldn't be encouraged to weaken your privacy settings.

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Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: "This is the connected generation. The internet and all its wonders are hardwired into their everyday lives.

"We shouldn't have to prevent our children from being able to use it, but we must demand that they are protected when they do."

The new proposals are the first of it's kind and aim to keep the UK's Children safe online, it's hoped that if these new rules are put into practice the way services treat children will be clearer and safer.

The consultation is open until 31 May and the final version is expected to come into effect by 2020.

When this is in effect the ICO will have the power to fine companies up to £17m if the break the rules.