Instagram checks your age with a face scan and AI

After Amazon shocked the world with AI that mimics the voices of the dead, Instagram is now also coming up with a controversial artificial intelligence plan. If you want to verify your age within the social medium, you now have to have a face scan made in which artificial intelligence determines how old you are.

Face scan on Instagram

It is especially important for children to check their age, because you are not allowed to use Instagram under the age of 13. For this check, Instagram uses a company called Yoti, which developed AI to check how old you are by means of a facial scan. That’s a big boost, because until 2019 Instagram didn’t ask how old you were at all and Instagram didn’t confirm it in any way.

But perhaps also a bit because of TikTok that has a lot of hassle because there are so many young children on it, Instagram realizes that it is important to do something with it. The only question is whether the public will like this. Many people fear for their privacy as more and more companies make facial scans and can therefore have very important biometric data in their hands. You can change a password with numbers or letters, you change your face a little less easily, besides you have to wonder if you would ever want to.

Confirm identity on Instagram

Previously, Instagram used a method where people had to submit their ID to prove their age. Now that is not exactly ideal, because an identity document also contains a lot of information that not everyone needs to know.

That’s why Instagram introduces two new options: the face scan and a social option. The latter asks three followers to confirm their age. These followers must be over 18. That is of course a much less watertight protocol, but you can ask yourself whether you really want to have an entire face scan made.


On the other hand, Yoti is a trusted supplier: in Germany and the United Kingdom, this technology is used by governments. The AI ​​can see how old you are from certain signals, although it is unclear which signals these are. A weaker skin, wrinkles, bags under the eyes? If you are curious how old the software estimates you, you can test it on the Yoti website. If you are a black woman, chances are the software is wrong. Yoti has the most difficulty with this, but in total the software would be good at guessing whether someone is under 18 or under 25 in 98.89 percent of the cases.

Of course, this system can also be circumvented. You can of course just ask someone else to have their face scanned. Make no mistake though, Instagram also has its ways of checking things. For example, through a system it checks the birthday messages of users and the age of people with whom they interact a lot. In short, the arsenal of controlling weapons Instagram comes up with to ensure that no too young people get on the platform is quite a lot. You only have to give up something that many people find far too valuable for just one social medium.

Laura Jenny

When she’s not typing, she’s traveling around the wonderful world of entertainment or some cool place in the real world. Mario is the man of her life,…

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