Instagram Begins Scanning Selfies To Verify That Users Are Of Legal Age
By Nicole Rodrigues, 24 Jun 2022
Instagram is trialing a new system that allows users to be verified of their age with just a simple video or selfie. The tech uses artificial intelligence to scan images and assess their age, and only if it believes the user is at least 13 years old or older can they create an account.
The previous system of scrolling down a list of years and being trusted to choose your birth year obviously could be sidestepped by any quick-witted youngster. As a solution, two new measures have been put into place to ensure the safety of teenagers.
The first is a new AI development of facial recognition. The system was developed by Yoti where the videos are sent and carefully examined based on facial features that other people of the same age share in their database. Yoti, however, does have an issue of gender and skin tone bias coming into factor when determining the age of someone.
The second is the ‘social vouching’ system, where users would have to enlist two friends who are over 18 to confirm their age via a request form. IDs or driver’s licenses will also have to be uploaded for confirmation. Instagram has said that the ID cards will only be stored on its own database and will be deleted after 30 days.
Users will not have to worry about their identity being tracked as the AI can only verify ages and cannot recognize the user, says Instagram.
This, however, may not be enough to quell the concerns of some users, given the security controversies Instagram and Meta have been entangled with. Just like easily faking a legal birthdate by scrolling, who’s to say teenagers can’t figure out the ability to get an older friend to get their face recognized instead of their own?
Instagram is not only trying to stop teenagers from accessing certain areas of the app but adults as well. Separating the two groups also stops adults from messaging minors. Though, with potential loopholes, can there ever be a perfect way to safeguard teenagers on the internet?
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