Anyone from thirteen years old can create an Instagram account. Previously, it was possible for users to lie about their age. The social photo site is now putting a stop to that.
New users and users who want to adjust their age will be asked to make a video with your selfie camera. That video is uploaded to the Instagram servers for viewing by an AI. Using user data from people of different ages, the AI can guess someone’s age.
That’s important for Instagram. Everyone under the age of eighteen will have some restrictions set on the profile. These restrictions mainly relate to a profile’s public status and whether adults can privately message the account. Moreover, advertisers are not allowed to just process and use all data: data of minors is in principle protected. Meta is therefore responsible for the well-being of the young people who use Instagram.
Instagram now asks to prove your age with a video, so that minors cannot circumvent age restrictions. Meta emphasizes that these videos are not saved and that they are immediately deleted after checking. The control that the AI performs is less in-depth than with facial recognition. For Instagram, the AI will only rely on a few facial features that help reveal someone’s age – so identity is not taken into account, only age.
Instagram has been asking users to indicate their age since 2019, although this was initially not mandatory. Until now, however, users could easily get out of that obligation by lying about their age. In the United States, users have long had to make a video to prove their age. The function will now eventually also come to Europe, so that European young people can Instagram in a safe way.