Instagram is constantly changing things up and one of the company’s big pushes in the past couple of years is to make the platform a safe space for creators of all backgrounds.
Towards this end, they’ve implemented a vast array of options around how people can interact with your content on the service.
But they’ve also taken it a step further to make sure that younger users are safe on the platform and have even suggested a separate “Instagram for Kids” to silo younger users away from the larger ecosystem.
Of course, that suggestion was met with derision but today’s brainwave might be just what the doctor ordered in terms of keeping users too young for Instagram off of the service.
Beginning in the next few weeks, Instagram will require users to verify their birthday with the app in order to continue using it.
Instagram doesn’t just want your birthday for security purposes, either, but to also tailor the user experience.
Its blog post on the update states:
“This information also allows us to personalize your experience, for example, we can apply recent changes we made to restrict advertiser targeting options for audiences under the age of 18, to more people. It also helps us show you more relevant ads.”
So, what happens if someone lies? The app is developing a range of countermeasures to prevent just that – and address it when it happens.
“We recognize some people may give us the wrong birthday, and we’re developing new systems to address this. As we shared recently, we’re using artificial intelligence to estimate how old people are based on things like “Happy Birthday” posts. 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.”
There’s also the whole eCommerce angle to all of this. Instagram’s desire to become a marketplace of sorts is pretty evident every single time you log in to it.
Beyond that, there’s Instagram’s intense competition to stay ahead of rivals like Tiktok. Plus, who could forget the recent statement that signaled the service was de-emphasizing photography in favor of video (and the subsequent rollout of billions to support that statement).
All in all, Instagram’s agility is pretty striking given how old the service is compared to competitors. Then again, it is so popular that the mothership is even pushing Instagram to promote Facebook to those users not yet signed up for the service so maybe the age verification thing is just another step to bring it in line with its big brother (which has required age verification for quite some time).
Do you think Instagram asking for a user’s age is invasive or does this policy make sense as a way to protect younger users? Let us know your thoughts on Instagram’s latest policy in the comments below.
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