Instagram Mandates Age Verification in Push for Teen Safety, Will Block Sensitive Content for Minors

Instagram has announced that it will start prompting users to fill in their birthday details. These prompts can initially be dismissed but the social media giant looks to make it a mandate eventually to continue using Instagram. These prompts look to understand how old everyone is on Instagram and prevent content that isn’t suitable for young people to appear on their feed. Instagram says that this information is necessary for new features it is developing to protect young people.

In a new blog post, Instagram says that it will start to ask users for their birthday when they open the app. This is for only those who haven’t offered their date of birth details beforehand. Instagram will show these users a notification at the top of their feed a handful of times and if they haven’t provided with birthday details by a certain point, they’ll need to share it to continue using the app, the company says.

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In addition, if users see warning screens on their posts, Instagram will ask for their birthday before the post can be revealed. This wasn’t the case earlier as users could just click on the ‘See Video’ or ‘See Image’ button at the bottom of the warning and see the hidden content. Moving forward, all users who haven’t shared their birthday will see a ‘Confirm Your Age’ button instead. These screens aren’t new, and Instagram already shows them on posts that may be sensitive or graphic. This new workaround looks to limit access to certain content based on age.

Instagram is also working on the ability to estimate how old a person is by using artificial intelligent that takes into consideration factors like “Happy Birthday” posts. This new system will recognise those users who have fed the wrong birthdate and then prompt them with options to verify their proper age. Instagram says that this work is still in the early stages and launch will happen sometime in the future.

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All of these measures are being put into place with the intent to create a safer environment for youngsters on Instagram. Instagram looks to provide the right experiences to the right age group and block certain kind of content for young people. Instagram recently introduced new features wherein it defaulted new accounts belonging to people under the age of 16 into a private setting and also prevented adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them.

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