Instagram introduces age verification technology in UK

Online safety campaigners have been requesting the age verification feature for a long time

Web Desk
An illustration of Instagram logo.— Unsplash
An illustration of Instagram logo.— Unsplash

As a part of its major safety update, the social media platform Instagram is introducing a feature that will help verify the age of its users in the EU and UK.

The technology has been launched in the United Kingdom. Users who will try to change their date of birth on the application from under 18 to over 18 will be required to upload their national ID or show a selfie video which will be analysed by AI.

Instagram explained that the new system will ensure that users were receiving age-appropriate content on the platform.

The photo-and-video-sharing app requires users to be at least 13 years of age to create an account.

"Accounts that represent someone under the age of 13 must clearly state in the account's bio that the account is managed by a parent or manager," Instagram stated on its website.

"If your child is younger than 13 and has an account that isn't managed by you or a manager, you can show them how to delete their account," the blog added.

Online safety campaigners have been requesting this feature for a long time. Many have been against the idea of children being on these platforms due to the fear of exposing them to potentially harmful content. Age verification has finally become a possibility after years of campaigning.

Instagram joined hand with UK firm Yoti which hold expertise in age estimation technology.

Yoti's system analyses selfie-video and studies facial features. After it reaches a conclusion, it shares the estimated age with Instagram. The platform noted that Yoti's system was not a facial recognition one but only guessed the age of the user.

Instagram also clarified that the account details or other private details are not shared with the tech firm during the process. As per the Meta-owned giant, the images are also immediately deleted by both Instagram and Yoti as soon as the guess is made.

Earlier this year, Instagram tested the system in different countries.

"We want everyone to experience Instagram in a way that's appropriate for their age, which means we need to know how old they are – and this is a challenge across our industry," Tara Hopkins, Instagram's public policy director, was quoted as saying by MailOnline.