The photo and video sharing platform Instagram announced on Thursday that it is testing new ways to verify the date of birth of its users, in particular thanks to an artificial intelligence tool estimating age via facial recognition .
The social network, which is part of the Meta group (also the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger), has teamed up with Yoti, a British start-up that is developing a facial feature recognition algorithm.
< p>In concrete terms, underage Instagram users based in the United States wishing to change their age to 18 or over will have to justify their action by filming themselves and transmitting the video to Meta.
The snippet will then be analyzed by Yoti's algorithm to determine the age before being deleted.
Yoti says his tool's margin of error is about 1.5 years for 13-19 year olds. The figures provided by the company show more inaccuracies for women's faces and people with dark skin color.
The young company guarantees that its technology does not in any way identify a subject or to collect personal information.
Another option explored by Instagram is to ask three of its contacts (all of whom must be adults) to attest to the age indicated in the application.< /p>
Young users already had and still have the option of providing ID (destroyed within 30 days) to prove their age.
The minimum age to create an Instagram account is 13 years old , but many minors circumvent this legal limit by lying about their date of birth.
Since 2021, the platform has required all of its users to communicate their birthday and asks for confirmation of age to be able to access certain content deemed inappropriate for a very young audience.
It has also implemented various parental control tools, including the ability to limit screen time or schedule breaks.
These devices mark an evolution of the discourse of Instagram, which previously considered not be responsible for age verification.
His boss, Adam Mosseri, told US lawmakers last year that he thought it more logical for parents to do it “rather than to ask each application, and there are millions of them, to verify the age”.
For certain associations for the protection of children's rights and several political leaders, the measures recently put in place are insufficient.
Instagram had been shaken by 2021 by the revelations of a former Facebook employee, Frances Haugen, who had leaked documents showing that the leaders of the network knew the risks of the application for the mental health of minors.