Steve Dent

Instagram is testing an AI facial analysis tool that can verify your age

Instagram is testing new age verification methods, including asking followers to vouch for your age and even using AI that can estimate your age via a video selfie. It’s part of an effort to make sure users are at least 13 years old and “to make sure teens and adults get the right experience for their age range,” he said.

For the “social guarantor” system, Instagram asks the user’s three common followers to confirm their age. These subscribers must be at least 18 years old and have three days to respond to the request. Users can also verify their age with ID card photos.

The AI ​​part requires you to take a video selfie, which Instagram, owned by Meta, then shares with a company called Yoti (it doesn’t provide Yoti with any other information, just the image, it says). “Yoti’s technology estimates your age based on your facial features and shares that estimate with us. Meta and Yoti then delete the image. The technology cannot recognize your identity, only your age,” Instagram says in the post. of blogging.

Despite these assurances, the system is bound to be controversial. Users are largely suspicious of Facebook and Instagram with their data, to begin with. On top of that, Yoti’s age recognition AI has higher errors based on your gender, age range, and skin tone.

Yoti’s system is already being used by the UK and German governments to detect age using deep learning after being trained on “hundreds of thousands” of images, the Yoti co-founder said. Robin Tombs. Wired Last year. Much like other neural networks, however, its operation is a bit of a black box, so even the company doesn’t know exactly what facial features it uses. Yoti has a YouTube demo (above) where he applies makeup to young users to see if the system can still correctly guess their age (it can).

You can try Yoti’s age estimate yourself – I found it made me look considerably younger (four years old) when I took my glasses off, so your own mileage may vary. In general, it is least accurate (plus or minus 3.97 years) when used on dark-skinned female faces and most accurate (2.38 years) with light-skinned male faces.

Instagram says it aims to use AI to understand people’s ages to “stop teens from accessing Facebook Dating, adults from messaging teens, and helping teens get restricted advertising content, for example”. It appears to be just the beginning, as the company said it plans to expand its use “widely across all of our technologies.”

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