Instagram plans a new age verification system

June 27, 2022 by
Frank Calviño

Instagram is concerned about children's access to its platform. For years, Instagram has been making different efforts to steer kids away from its app. In this sense, it has recently announced the start of tests of an age verification system. 

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How does Instagram plan to steer children away from the app?

In June, the Meta-developed platform started collaborations with a company that specializes in age verification systems, called Yoti. 

According to the tests being conducted, when a user signs up to Instagram or wants to change their date of birth to one that accounts for those under 18, they will be given three options to verify their age. The first is to ask friends to verify their age. The second is to upload a file that identifies them, such as an identity document. And the third is to record a video selfie so that the app can check the required age. 

A controversial method 

Of the options mentioned, it is the video selfie that has generated controversy and it is the option for which Instagram is collaborating with Yoti. This is because it is not a person who will inspect the video to establish the user's age, it will be done by an artificial intelligence system. This, is based on facial features to assess whether the age is correct. 

In this sense, and considering that we are talking about minors, the question of privacy arises. According to Instagram, the platform will share the video with Yoti and, when the user's age has been verified, the video will be removed from both servers to make it inaccessible to third parties. 

As for the option to ask other users to verify the age of the applicant, this will be called a "social voucher" and at least three followers will be required to verify the person's age. These followers will receive a notice in the app to this effect and will have three days to respond.

Testing of these methods has recently begun in the United States. It is expected that, if they are successful, they could be expanded to other countries. The results will be seen in the coming months.

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