Tell Instagram your birthday or get banned because the app offers age verification

The Facebook-owned company announced that Instagram users must tell the app when they were born or face being banned from using it, as it rushes to implement child protection measures required by new rules that come into force in the UK on Thursday. September 2.

In a blog post published on Monday, Instagram said it will start requiring all users who haven’t already filled in their birthday to do so every time they open the app.

“We’ll show you a notification a few times, and if you haven’t given us your birthday by a certain time, you’ll need to share it to continue using Instagram,” the post said.

The company said it needs to collect users’ birthdays in order to verify their age and implement new features that improve privacy and security for children using Instagram.

“Technology companies didn’t suddenly develop a conscience.”

Britain’s new ‘children’s law’ rules – formally known as the Age-appropriate Design Act (AADC) – apply to businesses located outside the UK, and come with hefty fines for services deemed to have failed to protect underage users.

Filmmaker and Member of the House of Lords of the British Parliament Baroness Beban Kidron, who initially introduced the legislation, told Euronews.next that the AADC was making an impact even before it came into force.

“Instagram’s announcement fits a pattern of tech companies enacting changes to protect children’s privacy and safety before the AADC takes effect, which should encourage lawmakers,” she said.

“Of course, companies don’t advertise that they’re responding to legislation because they don’t want to admit that regulation works. Not all tech companies have developed a conscience!”

What has changed on Instagram?

In March, Instagram announced that adult users worldwide would no longer be able to message under 18s who didn’t already follow them. Last month, the company said that accounts of children under the age of 16 would now switch to a higher privacy setting.

Instagram also said last month that it will reduce the amount of information about people under the age of 18 that you pass on to advertisers. In its July 27 announcement, the company said advertisers will only be able to personalize ads based on a young person’s age, gender, and location, “starting in a few weeks.”

“This means that previously available targeting options, such as those based on interests or on their activity on other apps and sites, will no longer be available to advertisers,” the company said.

Anticipating that some younger users will try to avoid the new features, Instagram said Tuesday it will use artificial intelligence to determine whether or not a user is lying about their age by cross-referencing their birthday with messages, comments and data from connected apps. .

“We look at things like the people who wish you a happy birthday and the age that is written in those messages, for example, ‘Happy 21st birthday! or “Happy Quinceañera,” said a Facebook blog post announcing the technology last month.

The company will also use artificial intelligence to prevent younger users from receiving messages from what it described as “adults who have shown potentially suspicious behaviour,” which Facebook said meant adult accounts that were recently blocked or reported by a child.

Why is Instagram making these changes?

Although none of the Instagram ads in recent months mention this, they all work to bring the platform into line with a new code of practice that comes into force in the UK on September 2nd.

The UK’s Age Appropriate Design Act (AADC) – the official name for the Children’s Act – makes social media companies such as Facebook, YouTube and others legally responsible for content served by their algorithms to those under 18.

Under Abu Dhabi Commercial Law, companies will no longer be able to use a claim that their platforms are not designed or intended for children as an excuse.

The rules apply to services that have British users, even if they are based outside the United Kingdom. If the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office is found to have breached the code, companies could face a fine of more than €20m or four percent of their annual turnover.

Kidron told Euronews.next that she hoped the AADC would follow more regulation of technology companies.

“These changes are just the beginning. All of the services that children are likely to access fall within the purview of the code, and over time we will see new standards for design. It is heartening to hear that product teams at major platforms are finally thinking about the ‘best interests of children’,” he said. provided by law, when they build new products and services.”

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