In short: Like other social networks, Instagram continues to struggle with the issue of under-13s joining the platform. As such, the Meta-owned company is testing a less conventional solution: an age-estimating AI that scans faces.
Instagram only started asking new users to enter their birthdates in 2019, and it only asks for age verification when teens try to change their birthdates to show they’re 18 or more. That’s part of why 40% of kids under 13 use the site and other social networks, according to a study last year.
Currently, Instagram performs age verification by requiring users to submit photo IDs, such as a driver’s license or birth certificate. But it is now testing two additional methods: social bonding and age verification via video selfie.
The bonding method requires three mutual followers to confirm a person’s age. They must also be over 18, not vouch for anyone else at the time, and abide by any other safeguards Instagram has in place.
The video selfie method is interesting. Once someone uploads a clip of themselves, Meta shares it with a third-party company called Yoti, which uses machine learning trained on “hundreds of thousands” of images to estimate the person’s age. .
The words “Meta” and “data sharing” don’t conjure up best-case scenarios, but the Facebook parent insists that Yoti technology can’t recognize identities and that he and Yoti delete all information from their servers once the process is complete. You can try here if you want to be flattered/horrified.
The accuracy of Yoti’s technology varies based on factors such as age ranges, skin tones and genders – darker skinned women are the least accurate (+/- 3.47 years). The company said its system is 98.91% accurate at identifying children ages 6-11 as under 13 (there is no mention of 12-year-olds) and is 99% accurate at guess if 18 year olds are older or younger than 25. , which wouldn’t be very useful in this situation anyway.