Instagram Adds Age Verification

Instagram’s New Feature Aims To Ensure That Its Users Are Age-Appropriate For The Content They Are Being Shown

After the possibility of Meta facing civil liabilities for addicting children in California as well as other related scandals, it is time for Meta to take the age of their users into account.

They have seemed to have been listening to these threats as their new feature rolls out onto the game. They announced that young people will now be identified using existing tools on the app.

As explained by Instagram:

“Starting today, we’re testing new options for people on Instagram to verify their age, starting with people based in the US. If someone attempts to edit their date of birth on Instagram from under the age of 18 to 18 or over, we’ll require them to verify their age using one of three options: upload their ID, record a video selfie or ask mutual friends to verify their age.”

[Creds: Meta]

The age-verification process will happen in a number of ways.

Video Selfie Process

This effect will allow Instagram to identify underage users a lot more easily. The main feature is a video selfie process. This is in partnership with Yoti and can provide AI-based estimates on a person’s age. The Yoti system has been trained on the largest dataset of images in the world.

Yoti is already being used by several industries around the world and so has a significant backing for Meta to start working with.

[Creds: UKTN]

Social Vouching

This feature is similar to the system used to re-access locked accounts. A number of Trusted Friends are able to confirm your identity.

“[Social vouching] allows you to ask mutual followers to confirm how old you are. The person vouching must be at least 18 years old, must not be vouching for anyone else at that time and will need to meet other safeguards we have in place. The three people you select to vouch for you will receive a request to confirm your age and will need to respond within three days.”

ID verification

This final feature will allow users to upload a picture of their ID to confirm their age

“We will use your ID to confirm your age and help keep our community safe. Your ID will be stored securely on our servers and is deleted within 30 days.”

[Creds: The Verge]

As a result of previous personal data issues, Meta has emphasised the temporary nature of the images uploaded as users could be fearful of what their images may be used for. 

AI will also help Meta to identify who is a teen and who is an adult so that they can limit teenagers accessing certain sites. 

“AI helps us prevent teens from accessing Facebook Dating, adults from messaging teens and helps teens from receiving restricted ad content, for example. Our goal is to expand the use of this technology more widely across our technologies.”

Providing additional steps to verify age is very important for Meta moving forward after all their controversy recently. While the site takes steps into virtual realities it is important that they address its important issues first. 

As parents are not able to fully check what their children are seeing online the intervention of social media is welcomed and encouraged to ensure that harmful content is kept away from young people. 

Finally, for our previous #SocialShort, click here.