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Instagram to Use AI and Video Selfies to Verify Age

Instagram AI
Instagram app on a smartphone. Credit: Santeri Viinamäki ,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0/Wikipedia

Social media giant Instagram is set to launch new methods, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), for the verification of the ages of its users.

The new methods under testing will include having the user upload a video selfie and then letting Artificial Intelligence (AI) judge their age.

When an Instagram user attempts to edit their date of birth on the service to be eighteen or over, it will require them to verify their age, Instagram explained how it will work.

Besides video upload, there will be other several ways to do this, including uploading an ID or asking three mutual friends to verify your age.

The most fascinating way to do this, however, is to upload a video selfie, upon which Instagram will then hand over the video to its partnering AI company, Yoti, to verify the user’s age.

Instagram to use AI algorithm to judge age

An artificial intelligence algorithm will be used to judge whether you’re really over eighteen.

Yoti trains its AI on “anonymous images of diverse people from around the world who have transparently allowed Yoti to use their data and who can ask Yoti to delete their data at any time,” Instagram said.

For people under the age of thirteen, Yoti collected data with parents or guardians giving explicit consent.

In a “white paper” document posted on its website, Yoti says that its AI has an accuracy rate of 2.96 years for 6 to 70 year-olds, and the rate of accuracy is greater the narrower the age groups are.

The company also says that with the use of AI, users are not individually identifiable, and gender and skin tone bias is “minimized.”

Risk of user data misuse exposed with this practice

It should be noted that on several occasions, Facebook, whose parent company, Meta, also owns Instagram, has in recent times, fallen prey to user data misuse scandals.

However, Instagram says that once you upload a video selfie and Yoti uses it to confirm your age, the image isn’t used for anything else but is deleted after your age has been confirmed.

Instagram says, it opted to use this method because, “understanding someone’s age online is a complex, industry-wide challenge,” and that many teens don’t always have access to an ID, so it’s forced to “explore novel ways to approach the dilemma of verifying someone’s age.”

Instagram also hopes that with the incorporation of these new technological methods, the company will be able to deal with occurrences of fake accounts on the platform.

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