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Instagram Testing New Options for User Age Verification

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Instagram on Thursday announced new ways for users to verify their age when joining the social network. The platform enforced age verification requirements back in 2019.

We require people to be at least 13 years old to sign up for Instagram. In some countries, our minimum age is higher. When we know if someone is a teen (13-17), we provide them with age-appropriate experiences like defaulting them into private accounts, preventing unwanted contact from adults they don’t know and limiting the options advertisers have to reach them with ads.

Image: Meta

“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,” Instagram said in the announcement.

Previously, users had to upload a form of identification such as a driver’s license or ID card to verify their age. Instagram has now partnered with Yoti, a company that specializes in privacy-preserving ways to verify age, to provide users with two new options:

Video Selfie

Image: Meta

The more intriguing new age verification method is sending in a video selfie to Instagram. The video selfie is shared with Yoti, which uses responsible artificial intelligence to estimate the subject’s age. The approximated age is then shared with Instagram, and a decision is rendered.

Social Vouching

Users will be asked to select three people who will receive requests to confirm the account holder’s age. Each of the vouchers must be at least 18 years old and respond within three days.

Check out Meta’s explainer video on the new verification methods below:

Instagram and Meta, its parent company, have caught a boatload of flak as of late for how underage users are treated and what they are exposed to on the social network.

The visually-inclined social media platform’s woes began after a whistleblower last year leaked internal research data demonstrating the negative effect Instagram can have on the mental health of younger users. Instagram has since been scrambling to revitalize its image and create a safer environment for minors.

The new verification options are rolling out today to users in the U.S. There is no word yet on when they will reach users in Canada or other regions.

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