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Instagram is testing AI-powered video selfies to verify age

Continuing on with its push for age verification and the enforcement of its age requirement, Instagram announced that it would be testing new age-verification methods to help primarily younger users verify their ages with the popular photo and video sharing app.

These new methods include the AI-powered analysis of video selfies and the ability to ask your mutual followers to vouch for you and confirm your age.

A series of three product mobile screenshots showing the new process of age verification on Instagram, all on a brightly colored gradient background.
Instagram/Meta

On Thursday, Instagram announced via a blog post that the test of these new age-verification options would begin today and would include U.S. users at first. Essentially, users who try to edit their stated birthdays on the app — to reflect an age that is over the age of 18 instead of their previously stated age of younger than 18 — will then be required to “verify their age using one of three options: upload their ID, record a video selfie, or ask mutual friends to verify their age.”

Uploading your ID to confirm your age on Instagram isn’t new, but if you’re not familiar, Instagram may request that you do so to confirm your age or identity. If you choose to upload your ID as your method of age verification, Instagram’s announcement says that the copy of your ID “will be stored securely on our servers and is deleted within 30 days.” According to the above product screenshot from Instagram, reviewing your ID upload can take up to two days. You should still be able to use Instagram during the review period.

If you’re not comfortable with uploading your ID to verify your age and you’re in the U.S., you can also use the two newer options that Instagram is now testing: AI-powered video selfies or asking your mutual followers to vouch for your stated age. Of these two options, the AI-powered video selfies are expected to be the faster method, as Instagram’s screenshot says it should only take 20 minutes. Requesting that your mutual followers vouch for you, on the other hand, appears to be the slowest method of all three: It may take three days to get a result.

The AI-powered video selfie method was developed in partnership with Yoti, a software development company that lists online security and age verification among its specialties. If you upload a video selfie to confirm your age, Instagram will share that selfie with Yoti and Yoti will use its age-estimation technology to analyze your facial features and provide an age estimate to Instagram to confirm your age. Once your age is confirmed, Meta and Yoti will delete the image. Instagram’s announcement and Meta’s video on the subject, both stress that Yoti’s technology can’t identify who you are, just your age.

You can also have your age confirmed by asking three of your mutual followers to vouch for your age. There are requirements your followers must meet though:

  • They have to be at least 18 years old.
  • They can’t be vouching for anyone else at the time of the request.
  • And Instagram says that they have to “meet other safeguards in place.” It is unclear to us at this time what those additional safeguards are.

The followers you pick for the vouching method will get a request asking them to confirm your age and they’ll have three days to respond to that request.

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