nstagram has announced the launch of a new age verification tool that will use age-estimation technology, rather than uploading ID. The feature has recently been introduced in Brazil and India and, if successful, it will be rolled on in the EU and UK by the end of the year.
At the moment, anyone trying to change their date of birth to over 18 from under 18 must upload a photo ID to prove their age. However, the platform has been looking for new ways to enforce its age restrictions more vigorously and ensure users only see age-appropriate content.
The minimum age for an Instagram account is 13, but under-18 accounts have extra security. This includes in-app notifications if they are spending too much time on certain types of content, as well as being set to private by default to avoid unwanted contact from strangers.
In a recent US trial, users were given three ways to verify their ages. These were uploading ID, asking three adults to confirm their identity, and taking a video selfie. The results found that using video selfies was an effective way to check users’ ages.
Instagram says that it already uses artificial intelligence and other reporting to verify that users are over 13 and that users between 13 and 18 are signed up for the right account type. But, studies show that many teenagers and children lie about their age to access Instagram content.
The new age-verification method will involve users uploading a video selfie and the footage being analyzed by Yoti – a company that provides age estimation technology for various tech companies by analyzing facial features. Yoti says its technology is accurate to within 1.36 years for kids aged 6 to 12 years old and within 1.52 years for teenagers aged 13 to 19.
In a blog post announcing the rollout of the verification program, the company said: “We’re testing new options for people to verify their age on Instagram, allowing us to provide age-appropriate experiences. We want everyone to experience Instagram in a way that’s appropriate for their age, which means we need to know how old they are – and this is a challenge across our industry.”