Instagram had first tested out age verification of teens in the US at the beginning of this year, and it is now being rolled out to users in Brazil and India as well. The safety of users on Instagram has always been a priority, and to address the problem, the company started testing a tool earlier this year that verifies users’ ages when they claim to be 18 or older.
The company said in a blog post, “Starting today, we’re expanding this test to additional countries including India and Brazil. We plan to expand to the UK and EU before the end of the year. We’re also removing Social Vouching as an option to verify age from the test to make some improvements.”
As part of the test, users must upload a photo ID or record a video selfie to establish if they’re under 18 or over 18. Instagram’s parent company, Meta, has partnered with UK-based Yoti, a provider of digital identities, to enable video selfies. Users shoot a video selfie after following the on-screen instructions, which Meta then transmits to Yoti for identification using its specially trained AI. After determining a user’s age based on facial characteristics, Yoti will delete the photograph, followed by Meta. Meta claims that the algorithm can only determine a person’s age.
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By employing this technique, Meta will discontinue using social vouching as a test option for age verification. Teens could select three followers who could verify their ages and were at least 18 under this system. Instagram claims it limits what teenagers can do based on their age. For instance, it prevents adults from sending direct messages (DMs) to users under the age of 16, keeps accounts of users under 16 private by default, and prohibits advertisers from focusing on what minors like and do.