One of the world’s biggest social media platforms is turning to Yoti for age verification. Instagram is now using the company’s age estimation tech to enforce age limits on its platform, and in doing so has become one of the most high-profile companies to embrace the service.
In the past, Instagram has asked users to self-report their age when they sign up for the platform. The company’s rules state that all users must be 13 years of age or older to create an account, but it is difficult to enforce that rule with what is essentially an honor system.
Yoti’s age estimation technology will allow Instagram to implement stricter age checks without infringing on user privacy. The solution is able to guess someone’s age based on a picture of their face, and was accurate to within 1.5 years for people between the ages of 13 and 25 as of March of 2021. The company has also spent the past two years trying to improve its accuracy for subjects at or below that threshold.
The age estimation solution does not identify the user, and instead only guesses their age based on their facial features. Since that guess is not linked to any personal information, Yoti is able to provide age verification services while minimizing data collection.
Yoti’s technology has previously been used to enable the online sale of age-restricted goods like alcohol, and to ensure that people viewing adult content are legally old enough to do so. For those who do not want to submit to the Yoti scan, Instagram is introducing a social vouching system that allows people to verify their age based on the testimony of three followers above the age of 18. Users can also send an image of an ID card or a passport to change their birthdate after an account has been created.
Instagram recently started using selfie videos to try to filter out bot activity on its platform. The company’s parent company, Meta, has been dialing back its use of true facial recognition after running into legal problems for using the technology without consent.
June 23, 2022 – by Eric Weiss