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Instagram begins testing age verification tools of video selfies and confirmation from other users

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

The ‘Age Estimation’ technology from digital identity company Yoti analyzes the user’s facial features using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict their age.

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

The photo-sharing app, owned by technology conglomerate Meta, has started testing its tools in the US as of today, with the aim of providing more age-appropriate experiences.

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

When someone tries to change their date of birth on Instagram from under 18 to 18 or older, 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 new technology from Yoti estimates the user's age based on the video

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

Another new age verification tool asks the user to nominate three mutual followers over the age of 18 to confirm their age.  The nominees cannot currently vouch for anyone else and must comply with

Another new age verification tool asks the user to nominate three mutual followers over the age of 18 to confirm their age. The nominees cannot currently vouch for anyone else and must comply with “other safeguards we have,” according to Instagram

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

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

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

“Many people, like teenagers, don’t always have access to the IDs that make age verification clear and easy. As an industry, we need to find new ways to tackle the dilemma of verifying someone’s age when they don’t have ID.”

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

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

HOW CAN INSTAGRAM USERS CHECK THEIR AGE?

After a user changes their age to one that is older than 18, they will soon be able to verify it in one of three ways:

1. Upload a video selfie and new technology from Yoti estimates the user’s age

2. Nominate three mutual followers over 18 years old who will confirm how old the user is

3. Upload an ID, such as a passport

Technology company Yoti created a ‘Age Estimation’ system that 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 years old to sign up, and it’s higher in some countries.

If they are between the ages of 13 and 17, they will have a private account by default – meaning other users will not be able to see or contact their content unless the teen 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.

In this way, the system can be used to estimate whether children meet the legal threshold of 13 to join apps such as Facebook and Twitter.

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

The technology is also incapable of recognizing someone’s identity.

The vouching feature, meanwhile, will prompt users to nominate three mutual followers to confirm how old the user in question is.

The nominees must be 18 years of age or older, not currently vouch for anyone else and have met “other safeguards we have,” according to Instagram.

Instagram hopes the tools will ensure teens and adults get 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 younger users from inappropriate content

Instagram hopes the tools will ensure teens and adults get 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 younger users from inappropriate content

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

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

“We still believe that an effective way to address this issue is for devices or app stores to offer apps with people’s ages so that teens can get an age-appropriate experience across all the apps they use. the company added.

“In the absence of industry standards or regulations for effectively verifying age online, we have invested in a combination of technologies that are fairer, offer more options to verify age, and protect the privacy of people who use our technologies.”

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

The Yoti app consists of a digital ID card, which is created by uploading an official document such as a passport in advance.

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

Yoti technology is currently being tested by the Ministry of Interior to prevent children from purchasing alcohol in supermarkets, and may become a permanent legal proof of age in the future.

It is already accepted as a valid ID for buying age-related products, such as medicines and energy drinks, in 30,000 high street shops.

YOTI AGE VERIFICATION: HOW DOES IT WORK?

Technology company Yoti 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 gives users a digital ID that they can use after their age has been verified using their software.

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

In this way, the system can be used to estimate whether children meet the legal threshold of 13 to join apps such as Facebook and Twitter.

Companies using the software can set an age threshold for the AI ​​to compare each user to.

To train the AI ​​on age estimates of younger people, photos of children were used — with parental consent — as part of a program organized by the Information Commissioner’s Office, a UK data watchdog.

According to London-based Yoti, they have managed to improve the system’s accuracy in estimating the ages of younger people over the past three years.

In 2018, the AI ​​was accurate to within 1.5 years for people aged 13-24 and to within a year for people aged 16-17, but the company now reports an accuracy of within 1.3 years for users from 6-12 years. up to 1.5 years for 13-18 years.

For users on the brink of the legal limit to access social media sites – whose age may have been misjudged – platforms could then request further forms of verification before granting access.

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