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Instagram Makes Age Verification Process Mandatory For Everyone; Here’s How To Do It

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Highlights:

  • Instagram makes it mandatory for all users to share their date of birth to use the app.
  • This helps us protect younger people in our community.
  • Some of the users have also taken to Twitter and complained about Instagram’s move to forcefully ask for their birth date.

Instagram will require all users to enter their birthdate before using the app, Facebook has announced, as part of the company’s efforts to introduce a child-safe experience for users under 18. The requirement has been introduced just two days before the UK begins enforcing the age-appropriate design code. The code requires companies to identify child users and take special effort to safeguard their personal data, limit attempts to alter their behavior and prioritize their wellbeing.

Although young users can bypass restrictions by giving their fake birth date details, both Instagram — and Facebook —have artificial intelligence (AI) backed systems to detect the accurate age of its users, like through birthday wishes, or age used in apps linked to Facebook, etc.

Last year Meta was found to be working on the kids’ version of the Instagram app, to be called Instagram for kids to cater to growing interest from young users and act on strong criticism from government bodies including for increasing Instagram’s use among kids. But the plan was dropped in September after advocacy groups and authorities protested. Nevertheless, Meta has not yet completely scrapped its plans for developing Instagram for Kids.

Instagram to require all users to enter their birthdate

Facebook, Snapchat, and even TikTok already require users to enter their birth date as soon as they start the signup process. TikTok built a whole separate section of its app where kids can watch videos but not post or comment after it was fined $5.7 million by the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for violating COPPA. When asked about why it took this long to add an age-restriction feature, considering that the app holds huge appeal for teenagers, Instagram said: “Historically, we didn’t require people to tell us their age because we wanted Instagram to be a place where everyone can express themselves fully — irrespective of their identity.”

The company says, in the future, it’ll use its age detection AI to sniff out people who are lying about their ages. In July last year, Facebook had a blog post about this tech, saying it was analyzing comments on your birthday posts, such as “happy 21st” or “happy Quinceañera.” According to its press release, if someone says they’re above a certain age like 13 or 18, but the AI says otherwise, Instagram will have them verify their age using a variety of methods (though it doesn’t say exactly what this will look like).

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