This Thursday (13), Instagram announced that it will launch its system to identify underage users in Brazil and India. The feature, tested since last June, uses artificial intelligence to detect teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 to ensure an “age-appropriate experience.”
As previously announced, the AI system was developed in partnership with Yoti. Through a video recorded in selfie format, an analysis is performed to estimate the age of the user by their facial features.
According to the company, the tool is able to calculate the age of people between 13 and 19 years old with a margin of error of approximately 1.5 years. Once the review is done, Meta and Yoti promise to delete the video.
In addition to this method, users will also be able to validate their age by submitting an identity document. Among the accepted by the social networkare: birth certificate, identity and driver’s cards, passport, and voter registration.
On the other hand, the platform also decided to remove the so-called “social proof”, in which users could ask mutual followers to confirm if they were (or were not) minors.
While Instagram hasn’t detailed the reason for discontinuing this option, it may be a little obvious: some people could simply ask friends to lie in order to “circumvent” the system.
The resources will gradually reach the more than 400 million active users of the platform in Brazil and India — the data is from Sensor Tower. Instagram also revealed that the UK and European Union will receive the functions by the end of the year.
For some time now, global cybersecurity bodies have reprimanded Instagram for letting under-13s use the social network.
More than that: the main criticism is that the platform does not do enough to prevent this audience from consuming content considered “harmful”.
To try to soften the criticism, Instagram made birth dates mandatory. Furthermore, the social network deprived the accounts of users under 16 by default.
The measure, according to the platform, aims to limit the search reach of profiles of adults with “potentially suspicious behavior” to prevent access to child profiles.
It’s also worth mentioning that Instagram has started blocking DMs from unknown adults and has limited advertisers from showing ads based on teens’ interests and activities.