Airport’s parents believed to be more disappointed than angry.

Travelers flying in and out of Japan’s Chubu Centrair International Airport on 17 September, may have noticed a lack of updates coming from the facility’s official Twitter account. That’s because from 8 to 10 a.m., it got shut down by Twitter for having been too young to operate an account.

According to the airport, which is in Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture, on the morning of September 17, the person in charge of the airport’s Twitter account thought it would be nice to put in the date of Chubu Centrair’s opening in the “Birth date” field as: 2005/02/17.

▼ Being only 9 years old at the time, Chubu Centrair must have been deeply influenced when Cristiano Ronaldo visited in 2014.

That would make the airport a strapping 14 years of age today, probably suffering from a bad case of acne and just getting into Insane Clown Posse. However, Chubu Centrair would only have been four years old when it opened a Twitter account back in January of 2010, still in full possession of its baby teeth and a firm belief in Santa Claus.

▼ Follow-up tweets from Centrair announcing the temporary loss of service

However, Twitter’s terms of service state that for an account to be valid, the user must be over 13 years old at the time the account is registered. Once Chubu Centrair’s account had 2005/02/17 entered as its birth date, it was automatically locked as a violation of the regulation, since to Twitter’s internal workings it looked like the account had been originally made by a four-year-old, who’d then flaunted the rules throughout puberty.

After what must have been an interesting chat with a customer service rep at Twitter, the major transportation hub managed to get its account reactivated by instead inputting the birth date of the person managing the account.

Readers of the news had a good laugh over the misunderstanding.

“This kind of thing happens a lot.”
“This is why we shouldn’t leave everything to machines. They lack common sense.”
“Rules are rules.”
“Twitter’s not very smart.”
“Why did they bother putting the birth date of the person? Just change the year, knuckleheads.”
“I did the same thing by mistake. The first thing I did after creating an account was restore my account.”
“Welcome to the age of AI.”

Granted, these automated systems may need some improvements such as scanning individual tweets for red flags of being child transport centers; terms such as “pee-pee head” or an unusual amount of Thomas the Tank Engine content for example.

I trust they’re working on it though, and for now it is best that these companies err on the side of caution, as there are a lot of evil people out there who prey on underage airports. Lil’ Chubu Centrair was lucky, but others might not be. So parents, be sure to take the time to talk to your airport or airfield about the potential dangers lurking online.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Kinisoku
Top image: Wikipedia/Aaron Headly
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