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Instagram tests AI tool to verify user age

O Instagram is testing new methods of verifying the age of its users. The newest resource for this purpose is an artificial intelligence tool produced by a third-party company, Yoti. Currently, when a person tries to edit their personal information and change their date of birth, the social network asks for an age confirmation to confirm that the individual is really 18 or older. For this, a photo of the photo identification document is required.

As of this Thursday (23), users of United States will have two additional options: social confirmation and verification through artificial intelligence. For the former, Instagram asks three mutual followers over the age of 18 to confirm the person’s age. The answer must be given within three days. The second method, AI verification, requires sending a video recorded with the selfie camera to a third-party company, Yoti, which will use machine learning to estimate the age of the user.

Image: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

More about Yoti

Yoti is known in the field of online user identity verification and its technology has been approved by the government of UK and by digital regulators of the Germany. The tool estimates a person’s age by analyzing their facial features – however, the company cannot say exactly what they are. On the other hand, Yoti shares the current accuracy in verifying users on its official site, revealing to be less accurate on female faces and dark-skinned people. In people under the age of 24, the margin of error is up to 2.5 years.

On the page, it is also possible to try out the recognition system (the company says it does not retain any data shared by the individual). With the widespread use of the estimation tool, it is possible that your accuracy will improve. Also, according to a 2020 analysis by a nonprofit, Yoti’s AI is 98% reliable in confirming the average age of people 18 years old (plus or minus 25).

Image from Yoti's website

Image: Yoti

Instagram and Yoti Partnership

So far, it is possible to create an Instagram account if you are at least 13 years old. However, this rule can be easily circumvented, with little effort on the part of the company to enforce this standard. Fortunately, this scenario seems to be changing. In addition, the social network guarantees that it is working on a version of the tool with antispoofing features, different from the trial version available on Yoti’s website.

Sources: The Verge, Business season

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