Instagram is testing new ways for users to age verify

Tim Green

Picture and video staring giant Instagram is responding to growing concern about  age appropriate usage by testing new verification techniques.

Traditionally Instagram asked a new user to upload ID so join the service. But now it's testing two new methods: record a video selfie or ask mutual friends to verify their age.

Instagram mandates that its users are 13 years or older, though in some countries, the minimum age is higher. The service began asking people to provide their age when signing up in 2019.

When it knows a new user is a teen (13-17), Instagram then defaults to age-appropriate experiences such as registering them into private accounts, preventing unwanted contact from adults they don’t know and limiting the options advertisers have to reach them with ads.

The new restrictions should tighten up the sign-in and prevent teens from circumventing the restrictions.

For the video method, Instagram has teamed up with ID specialist Yoti. When then user takes a video selfie, Instagram shares the image with Yoti, which uses facial recognition to estimate age. Instagram and Yoti then delete the image. The technology cannot recognize anyone's identity – just anonymously estimate age.

The 'social vouching' option lets users ask mutual followers to confirm how old they are. The person vouching must be at least 18 years old, must not be vouching for anyone else at that time and will need to meet other safeguards. The three people selected to vouch receive a request to confirm the target's age and must respond within three days.

Instagram is testing these new techniques first in the US.