Instagram is testing a new AI-based age verification, social vouching

What you need to know

Meta has announced that it's testing new verification methods for Instagram.

Social vouching allows users to have their ages verified by three friends.

Video selfies use AI to determine the age of the person creating a new account.

Instagram is introducing new ways for users to verify their age on the social media app. The platform will now utilize social vouching and video selfies with the help of AI to determine someone's age.

When someone attempts to change their age from under 18 to 18 or older, the app will require them to provide proof. When selecting social vouching, the user will choose three friends (18 or older) to vouch for them. Those selected will receive a notification to confirm their age and must respond within three days. They also must not already be in the process of vouching for someone else.

The more interesting method is video selfies. The feature is apparently not new to Instagram, but this is the first time it'll be used for age verification purposes. Selecting this method will require the user to follow instructions to create their video selfie, showing different angles of their face. Verification is said to take roughly 20 minutes.

(Image credit: Instagram)

To analyze and verify the video selfies, Meta is partnering with Yoti, an age-verification company focused on privacy and security. Yoti assesses facial features (not individual people) using AI to estimate one's age. Meta notes that the video selfie is sent only to Yoti and deleted once the verification process is complete.

If the above options aren't appealing to users, they can always select the age-old method (pun intended) of uploading their ID, which Meta ensures is securely stored and deleted after 30 days.

These new options are being tested on iOS and Android phones in the U.S. to help ensure that Instagram is providing age-appropriate content to its users. The app has been under fire for its harmful effects on teens, and this is just the latest way Instagram hopes to tackle the negative views around it. Meta further uses its AI to determine the context of individual posts like birthdays to further estimate a user's age.

Recently, Instagram introduced parental controls and nudges to help guide younger users to seek different content or take breaks from the app.