Today Meta announced
that the company is starting to test new ways to verify the age of Instagram users in the US. There’s a specific scenario in which these three new options will be tested, and it involves people celebrating their 18th birthday.
“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,” reads part of the official announcement.
Instagram requires people to punch in their age when they first sign up, and the minimum age for a person to be able to create an account is 13 (in some countries it’s even higher). The idea is to be able to tailor the content for the various age groups – protecting teens (13-17) from harmful content.
Uploading your ID might not be the perfect way to do this, and that’s why Instagram is testing two additional options – the aforementioned selfie video and something called “social vouching.” The selfie video feature will rely on AI algorithms to guess the age of the person signing up or logging in (Meta is partnering with Yoti – a company specializing in age-verification technology to do this). Here’s Meta’s explanation of the procedure involved:
Video Selfie: You can choose to upload a video selfie to verify your age. If you choose this option, you’ll see instructions on your screen to guide you. After you take a video selfie, we share the image with Yoti, and nothing else. Yoti’s technology estimates your age based on your facial features and shares that estimate with us. Meta and Yoti then delete the image.
The second option is even more interesting – social vouching. Instagram users will be able to ask three already verified users over the age of 18 to vouch for them. Here’s how it would work:
Social Vouching: This option 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.
The changes are already rolling out to select test groups in the US and will be coming to all Instagram accounts in the following weeks. What do you think about it? Do you think an AI would be able to guess your age or this is just a recipe for a huge social backlash?
Source: Phone Arena