Instagram video selfies trail to verify age, Instagram explores new ways for teens to verify their age and comply with platform rules. The Meta managed app explores the images you have taken with face recognition software as a new way to verify age.
Some users on Instagram are trying to violate their 13+ year rule by arranging their birthday to appear over 18 years old.
But US teens who are trying this now will be given three ways to verify age: upload ID, ask three adult users to verify, or take a photo you took with a video.
Meta says it hopes the new methods will ensure that teens “have the right information for years” on Instagram.
The tech giant has previously been criticized for the safety of teens and children in its stadiums.
A few U.S. states investigated Instagram last year about children’s knowledge of the photo-sharing app, in response to a leak from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Will Gardner OBE, chief executive officer of Childnet and director of the UK Safer Internet Center, said the case was encouraging: “The potential is there to help children protect content that is not theirs and to make their online knowledge age-appropriate.”
The 5Rights Foundation, a UK organization that promotes the safety of children in a digital environment, says such efforts are “long overdue”.
Platforms should “leave behind the ‘do not look and see attitude’ that has led to millions of vulnerable children”, 5Rights says, adding that “just knowing your users’ age is not enough.”
Parents and guardians of young Instagram users were given additional tools to monitor their child’s Instagram experience earlier this month.
They can now set time limits and view details of any reports their child makes on the platform.
Teens will also be “contacted” to check out other content if they review similar articles on the Instagram checklist, and are encouraged to “take a break” if they continue scrolling through the links.
Photos taken with video and public vouching
Photos taken by videos have become a popular way for digital forums – such as online banking applications – to verify the age or identity of users.
Instagram is currently using the photos you have taken as another way account holders can verify their identity if they are locked out of their account.
Meta has partnered with UK digital diagnostic provider Yoti, whose technology measures age by analyzing a person’s face and facial features.
Yoti says its algorithm, trained in the faces of strangers and their birthdays, cannot identify individual users or something about them, other than their age.
Its latest white paper, published in May, said the technology is accurate for children aged 6 to 12 with errors ranging from 1.36 years – and 1.52 years old for 13- to 19-year-olds.
Meta says both companies will delete the image once the user’s age is confirmed.
At the same time, public vouching allows users to ask three participating fans to confirm their age. Those who are asked to verify the user’s age must be at least 18 years old, and will not guarantee any other users at that time.
Feeling safe on social media
Dr. Ysabel Gerrard, a lecturer in digital media and public relations at the University of Sheffield, says the new age verification of Instagram is an acceptable way to ask users to upload an ID.
But he says relying on age verification tools is a way to protect young people online no matter why they are actually trying to create adult accounts in the first place.
“Most of them say they are 18 years old on Instagram so they don’t do bad things or watch bad content,” said Dr. Gerrard.
“Being technically registered as an adult makes them feel safe because they don’t think they will be guided.”
For Dr. Gerrard, the new Instagram authentication methods raise big questions about what helps kids feel safe on social media.
“Pretending to be an adult is one of them. It’s a sad fact, but we can’t pretend it doesn’t happen.”
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