Some websites and online platforms often require users to tell them about their age so that they can moderate content accordingly and create feeds that would be “kid-friendly.” Expecting users to be honest about their age, especially when there’s a filter on content based on age, doesn’t work.
Most websites and social media platforms had no way to verify the age of their users. This has been a massive problem for platforms like Instagram, which have been accused of serving content that disproportionately harmed children; social media usage has often been linked to an increase in despair and depression in preteens and children. To tackle this, Instagram started experimenting with verifying a user’s age using AI-based tools. Although the program began in the US, it has now reached India.
Anyone in India who now tries to create a new Instagram account, and claims that they are an adult, will need to prove that.
This works because Instagram will ask users to upload a photo ID of the user. We guess they will need the photo ID to show the user’s date of birth clearly. In case someone is not comfortable sharing their photo IDs with the platform, they have the option to share a video with the social media platform.
Instagram, will then use AI-based tools to analyze the video and determine whether the new applicant is an adult. What parameters will the new tools check in the video have not been made public, simply so people cannot devise ways to spoof the system.
The company has said they are working with UK-based digital identity supplier Yoti. You will get video selfies of users and will give further information to Meta about the age of the user.
When the program was under testing in the US, Instagram allowed existing users to vouch for new users to the platform who claimed to be over 18. However, they soon found out that this system could easily be spoofed and decided not to continue.
The accounts of users who are less than 18 years of age will be automatically made private for security reasons; also, adults will not be able to message minors directly. This year, Instagram also added a parental supervision feature.