Instagram begins testing tools for verifying the age of video selfies and confirming other users

Instagram has started testing new age verification tools, including new technology that claims to be able to estimate a user’s age using a video selfie.

The ‘Age estimate’ Digital identity company Yoti’s technology analyzes a user’s facial features using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict their age.

Instagram is also testing a new age verification method that involves asking three separate users to confirm their age.

The photo-sharing app, owned by tech conglomerate Meta, began testing the tools in the US today, aiming to provide more age-appropriate experiences.

A third age verification method of uploading a valid ID, such as a driver’s license or ID card, is already available.

When someone tries to change their birthday on Instagram from under 18 to 18 or over, the app will ask them to verify their age using one of these tools.

Instagram is testing two new age verification tools. One of the tools asks users to upload a video selfie, and Yoti’s new technology will estimate the user’s age from the video

Another new age verification tool asks the user to name three common subscribers over the age of 18 to confirm their age.  Appointees cannot currently vouch for anyone else and must respect

Another new age verification tool asks the user to name three common subscribers over the age of 18 to confirm their age. The named individuals cannot currently vouch for anyone else and must abide by “other safeguards we have in place,” Instagram said.

The social media platform hopes the tools will allow teens and adults to get the right experience for their age group.

“Understanding someone’s age online is a complex industry-wide challenge,” Instagram said.

“We want to work with others in our industry and with governments to set clear standards for online age verification.

“Many people, like teenagers, still don’t have access to identification forms that make age verification clear and simple. As an industry, we need to explore new ways to address the dilemma of verifying someone’s age when they don’t have ID.

Users can always upload a valid ID, such as a driver's license or ID card, to confirm their age

Users can always upload a valid ID, such as a driver’s license or ID card, to confirm their age

HOW CAN INSTAGRAM USERS VERIFY THEIR AGE?

When a user changes their age to be over 18, they will soon be able to verify it in one of three ways:

1. Upload a video selfie and Yoti’s new technology will estimate the user’s age

2. Name three common subscribers over the age of 18 who will confirm the age of the user

3. Upload an ID, like a passport

Technology company Yoti’s The Age Estimation system uses artificial intelligence (AI) to determine if social media users are too young to use apps like Instagram or TikTok.

Instagram requires users to be over 13 to register, and in some countries this is higher.

If they are between 13 and 17 years old, they are assigned a private account by default, which means that other users cannot see their content or contact them unless the teenager accepts them as a follower.

Instagram also limits the options advertisers have to reach them with ads.

The Yoti software works by comparing the user’s facial features as captured through the device’s camera with millions of other images of people of known age.

This way, the system can be used to estimate whether children meet the legal threshold of 13 to join apps like Facebook and Twitter.

Yoti and Meta confirmed that the data obtained from the video selfie on Instagram will be deleted after verifying the age of the user.

The technology is also unable to recognize someone’s identity.

The surety feature, on the other hand, will ask users to name three common subscribers to confirm the age of the user in question.

Nominees must be at least 18 years old, not currently vouching for anyone else, and have met “other safeguards that we have in place,” Instagram said.

Instagram hopes the tools will give teens and adults the right experience for their age group.  Online safety campaigners have called for the introduction of age verification tools on social media to better protect young users from inappropriate content

Instagram hopes the tools will give teens and adults the right experience for their age group. Online safety campaigners have called for the introduction of age verification tools on social media to better protect young users from inappropriate content

Online safety campaigners have called for the introduction of age verification tools on social media and other platforms to better protect young users from inappropriate content.

Instagram said this test would help test potential solutions to the problem.

“We still believe that an effective way to solve this problem is for devices or app stores to provide apps with people’s ages, allowing teenagers to be placed in age-appropriate experiences across all apps they use,” the company added.

“In the absence of industry standards or regulations on how to effectively verify age online, we have invested in a mix of technologies that are fairer, providing more options for verifying age and protecting the privacy of users. people using our technologies.”

Last month, Yoti announced that its digital proof of age app would be accepted in UK cinemas.

The Yoti application consists of a digital identity card, which is created by uploading an official document such as a passport beforehand.

This ID card can then be used by children to prove they are old enough to watch an age-restricted movie, meaning they don’t need to bring important documents with them.

The Yoti technology is also being tested by the Home Office to prevent children from buying alcohol in supermarkets, and could become permanent legal proof of age in the future.

It is already accepted as a valid ID for the purchase of age-restricted products, such as drugs and energy drinks, in 30,000 street shops.

YOTI AGE VERIFICATION: HOW DOES IT WORK?

Technology company Yoti has created a “Age estimation” system that can tell if social media users are too young to use apps like Instagram or TikTok.

It is used in the Yoti app, which provides users with a digital ID they can use after their age has been verified using their software.

Their artificial intelligence software works by comparing the user’s facial features as captured through the device’s camera with millions of other age Yoti app user images. known.

This way, the system can be used to estimate whether children meet the legal threshold of 13 to join apps like Facebook and Twitter.

Companies using the software can set an age threshold against which the AI ​​will compare each user.

To train the AI ​​to estimate the age of young people, photographs of children were used – with parental consent – as part of a program organized by the Information Commissioner’s Office, a British organization of data monitoring.

According to London-based Yoti, they have managed to improve the accuracy of the system for estimating the age of youngsters over the past three years.

In 2018, AI was accurate within a 1.5 year range for 13-24 year olds and within a year for those aged 16-17 – but the company is now reporting 1.3 year accuracy for users aged 6-12 and 1.5 years for 13-18 year olds.

For users on the cusp of the legal limit on accessing social media sites – whose age could possibly be incorrectly assessed – platforms could then ask for other forms of verification before granting access .

About Debra D. Johnson

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