Instagram Testing Facial Scanning for Age Verification Purposes


As part of Meta’s ongoing efforts to protect vulnerable users that are on its apps, the company is testing out a facial scanning age verification tool on Instagram.

woman showing black Samsung smartphone
A woman showing black Samsung smartphone while taking selfie. Photo by Cristina Zaragoza

You might recall the implementation of an age screening some time back and in this somewhat in that vein.

As for why the service needs to verify a user’s age, it all boils down to the user experience; namely, the default private account status for younger users (ages 13-17) in addition to limited messaging and targeted advertising, CNN reports.

To enable all of this, Instagram is partnering up with a company called Yoti which specializes in age verification technology. The process is relatively simple as users are prompted to upload a photograph and Yoti’s technology then uses a range of data points to determine an approximate age. If you don’t want to upload a photograph, you can have three adult users on Instagram verify the user’s age although that option sounds fraught with security pitfalls, too.

All of this comes in the wake of top execs behind the “Instagram for Kids” concept leaving the company and Meta shifting focus to a more protective stance when it comes to younger users. Prompted by a wave of bullying reports and other bad press, this totally makes sense yet, as we’ve covered here, it always seems to be three steps forward, two steps back from some perspectives. Such as with this initiative, requiring a user to upload a facial photo or relying upon other accounts to verify one’s age sure sound like solutions but maybe not permanent ones.

What are your thoughts on using facial scanning for age verification? Let us know in the comments.

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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