Instagram Will Now Require Users to Enter Their Birth Date as Part of New Protections for Youngsters

Instagram is taking the following steps to better protect younger users, in line with upcoming regulatory changes, and is asking all users who have not yet entered their birth date to do so in the app. As explained by Instagram:

“We clearly state that we want to do more to create safer and more private experiences for young people. For that, we need to know how old each one is on Instagram, so we started asking people to share their birthdays with us that not had already done that. ”

As you can see here, the new instructions will ask users to add their date of birth, which, if ignored, can exclude users from the app until they add the necessary information. Instagram says it “sometimes” shows new directions before usage restrictions are put in place. In addition, Instagram will also start asking about people’s birthdates, displaying warning screens in posts as an additional measure to trick users into reporting their age. This basically forces all users to enter their age information, which Instagram can use to better manage younger users and protect itself from unwanted exposure in the app.

The update is the latest in a series of changes Instagram is rolling out to better align with evolving regulations that protect younger users. Last month, rep. Kathy Castor proposes a new bill to update the Children’s Internet Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which will extend coverage to teenagers under 18 (currently applicable to children under 13) and use by teenagers, including social media programs. Other regions are implementing similar reforms, placing a heavier burden on all platforms to enforce stricter legal restrictions on access and protection.

Instagram has been working hard over the past few months to anticipate these changes. In March, Instagram introduced new restrictions for adults who wish to send messages to users under the age of 18 who don’t follow them, while Instagram also added a new process in July that standardizes teen users on private accounts and limits the ability of ads for the younger audience.

At the same time, Instagram is also working on its “Instagram for Kids” project, which has been vehemently opposed by child protection and safety groups, but which Facebook has repeatedly noted is still happening.

The idea, from Facebook’s point of view, is that providing a dedicated Instagram app for younger users, will reduce the incentive for young people to log in to Instagram properly, even if in practice it doesn’t work if you know.

Again, Facebook’s Messenger for Kids now has over 7 million users, so Facebook has some experience with its impact. Maybe Instagram for kids really is a better approach. We will have to wait and see. Of course, young people can still undermine these new orders by introducing a fake birthday, so it’s not a foolproof process, although Instagram is also implementing systems to detect it:

“As we shared recently, we are using artificial intelligence to estimate how many seniors there are, based on messages like ‘Happy Birthday.’ In the future, if someone tells us they are of a certain age and our technology tells us otherwise, we will be showing a menu of options to check their age. This work is still in its early stages and we hope to share more soon. ”

The new instructions will appear this week for Instagram users who have not yet entered their age into the app.

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