Instagram have teamed up with London-based startup Yoti to test a new age verification feature for 18 and over accounts.
Starting the initiative in the US, if a user wishes to change their age on the app, the new setting will ask them to upload their ID, record a video selfie or ask mutual friends to verify their age.
For the video selfie verification, Instagram’s parent firm Meta will share the footage with the UK firm, which will then verify the person’s age with a trained AI system.
The data is then deleted by both parties once the verification process is complete.
For the social vouching function, the follower confirming the age must be at least 18 years old, and must not be verifying for anyone else at that time and will need to meet other safeguards in place.
“Understanding someone’s age online is a complex, industry-wide challenge. We want to work with others in our industry, and with governments, to set clear standards for age verification online”, Meta said in a statement.
“Many people, such as teens, don’t always have access to the forms of ID that make age verification clear and simple. As an industry, we have to explore novel ways to approach the dilemma of verifying someone’s age when they don’t have an ID”.
Instagram made it mandatory for users to provide their birthdate when setting up an account.
Meta and its subsidiaries have come under fire in recent years for not taking child safety seriously.
The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Instagram knew its platform affects the mental health of young users, while Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen questioned Meta’s response to concerns that younger users were being directed to harmful information and posts.