Instagram testing new age verification tools including face scanning

Popular social media platform Instagram has started testing different ways to verify a user’s age, including face scanning to determine the users under and above the age of 18. The feature, which is currently being tested only in the U.S., will focus on addressing false information provided by users associated with their age, particularly the underage group.

There are three different ways through which a user can verify their age on Instagram namely – uploading a photo identification (ID) proof, asking three mutual friends on the app to verify their age, or recording a video selfie.

According to the company, if a user decides to verify their age using the video selfie method, Instagram delivers the video recording to Yoti – an identity-verification start-up based in London – to scan the user’s facial features and confirm their age.

The company has assured that both Instagram and Yoti will delete the data post verification and do not save any personal information of the users since Yoti’s algorithm primarily focuses on verifying the user’s age and not their identity.

Essentially, Instagram aims to offer a more age-appropriate content environment for its users and hence will focus on strengthening the age verification system.

If a user selects the Photo ID option to confirm their age, Instagram will delete the photo 30 days after a user uploads the ID verification.

It is worth noting that Instagram became notoriously popular among parents and critics for exposing minors to inappropriate or harmful content in recent times. To overcome this backlash, Instagram started checking users’ ages in 2019 to restrict people under the age of 13 from creating accounts on the social media platform.

More recently, the social networking company started asking its existing users to share their birthdays to determine the age of its new as well as old users. Even parent company Meta has ceased the launch of Instagram Kids – an Instagram version that was designed for children under the age of 13.

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