Instagram tests age verification by scanning the face

Instagram has begun exploring new age verification options in the United States. This includes determining age by scanning the user’s face with a camera, according to a Thursday post on Instagram. Artificial Intelligence (AI) then evaluates whether it is potentially an adult, teenager or child. Instagram uses technology from the British age verification specialist Yoti.

The user’s age is then checked whenever he tries to change the age rating from “under 18” to 18 or older, the Instagram blog said. There are three ways to verify age. Users can either upload an ID document, create a “selfie video” according to certain specifications, which will then be evaluated by Yotis AI, or have friends confirm their age.

Instagram wants to ensure that no children under the age of 13 can register for the service in certain countries. Depending on age – children under 13, teenagers between 13 and 17 and adults over 18 – users should be able to have “age-appropriate experiences” on Instagram. The main problem is restrictions, such as the fact that unknown adults should not be able to contact children and display age-appropriate advertising.

Age verification in the US by uploading an ID (ID or driver’s license) is not new. According to Instagram, the document will be stored on servers for 30 days until it is deleted.

A novelty is verification via video selfie. To do this, the user must create a “selfie video” according to the instructions. According to initial information, this is largely equivalent to the versatile face scanning required for Apple’s Face ID generation or other face recognition access systems. The recorded image information is then passed to Yoti. Yoti receives no further information, writes Instagram. AI then estimates approximate age based on specific age characteristics. Instagram promises that the identity should not be recognizable. Instagram will use the result to assign to the appropriate age group. Then the image data will be deleted.

Yoti’s age verification system is privacy-friendly and is verified by the Age Check Verification Scheme, a UK non-profit organization. Various youth and data protection organizations would also recommend the Yoti system, including the German Youth Protection Commission (KJM), Instagram continues to promote the Yoti process.

Anonymous image data from people around the world was said to have been used to train AI. They agreed. In the case of children, parents or guardians would agree to the use of image files.

Another new option for confirming age is Instagram “Social Vouching”. Instagram users can ask friends to verify their age. This must be done within three days. These people then “vote” and must be at least 18 years old. In addition, they can only guarantee one person. A total of three such guarantors are required.

Instagram tests on age verification options are currently only taking place in the USA. It is not yet clear whether and which of them will also come to Germany.


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