In an effort to make its platform a generally safer place for its younger users, the Facebook-owned Instagram has confirmed a relatively big change for the service moving forward. The social network has confirmed that it will require a bit of information for its users if they want to continue to use the service.
Today, Instagram confirmed that, moving forward, users will need to provide their date of birth if they want to keep using the photo- and video-sharing platform. The company is now asking users for the information if they haven’t already shared it. The company says the change will “create safer, more private experiences for young people.”
Instagram says the new data point requirement will make it possible to bring new safety features for young users to the platform. Moreover, Instagram says the requirement will make it possible to offer up an age-appropriate experience. This change is connected to other features it has added in recent months. One example of how this date of birth requirement offers up a specific experience for users is how Instagram restricts advertiser targeting options for individuals who are under 18 years old.
From today’s announcement:
First, we’ll start to ask you for your birthday when you open Instagram. We’ll show you a notification a handful of times and if you haven’t provided us with your birthday by a certain point, you’ll need to share it to continue using Instagram. This information is necessary for new features we’re developing to protect young people.
Second, if you see warning screens placed on posts, we’ll ask you for your birthday before you can see the post. These screens aren’t new, and we already show them on posts that may be sensitive or graphic, but we don’t currently ask for your birthday when viewing these posts. Now, we’ll start asking for your birthday on some of these screens if you haven’t shared it with us previously.
This is user-inputted information, which means someone can lie when passing along this information. But Instagram says it’s working on this. One way is by utilizing artificial intelligence to estimate how old users are based on “happy birthday” posts shared on their social accounts (accessible by Facebook).
In the future, if someone tells us they’re above a certain age, and our technology tells us otherwise, we’ll show them a menu of options to verify their age. This work is still in the early stages, and we look forward to sharing more soon.
Instagram says it is developing additional tools to be aware of when a user lies about their birth date.
This new change is rolling out now.