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Instagram tests using AI, other age verification tools

Instagram is testing new ways to verify the age of people using its service, including a face-scanning artificial intelligence tool, asking mutual friends to verify their age or uploading ID.

But the tools won’t be used, at least not yet, to block kids from the popular photo and video sharing app.. The current test is only to verify that a user is 18 or older.

The use of face-scanning AI, particularly on teenagers, raised alarm bells Thursday, given Instagram parent Meta’s checkered history of protecting user privacy.. Meta pointed out that the technology used to verify people’s ages cannot recognize a person’s identity – only their age. Once the age verification is complete, Meta said so and Yoti, the AI ​​contractor he partnered with to do the analytics, will delete the video.

Meta, which owns Facebook as well as Instagram, said that starting Thursday, if anyone tries to change their birth date on Instagram from under 18 to 18 or over, they will need to verify their age using one of these methods.

Meta continues to face questions about the negative effects of its productsespecially Instagram, on some teenagers.

Children must technically be at least 13 years old to use Instagram, like other social media platforms. But some get around this by either lying about their age or asking a parent to do it. Teens between the ages of 13 and 17, meanwhile, have additional restrictions on their accounts — for example, adults they’re not connected to can’t message them — until they turn 18. .

Using uploaded credentials isn’t new, but the other two options are. “We give people a variety of options to verify their age and see what works best,” said Erica Finkle, director of data governance and public policy at Meta.

To use the face scan option, a user needs to upload a video selfie. This video is then sent to Yoti, a London-based startup that uses people’s facial features to estimate their age. Finkle said Meta isn’t yet trying to identify under-13s using the technology because it doesn’t keep data on that age group — which would be needed to properly train the AI ​​system. But if Yoti predicts a user is too young for Instagram, they will be asked to prove their age or have their account deleted, she said.

“It never uniquely recognizes anyone,” said Julie Dawson, director of policy and regulation at Yoti. “And the image is instantly deleted once we do.”

Yoti is one of several biometrics companies to capitalize on a push in the UK and Europe for stronger age verification technology to stop children from accessing pornography, dating apps and online shopping. Other adult-oriented Internet content — not to mention liquor bottles and other off-limit items in physical stores.

Yoti has worked with several major UK supermarkets on face-scanning cameras at ATMs. It has also started verifying the age of users of the French video chat app aimed at young people Yubo.

While Instagram will likely keep its promise to remove a contestant’s facial imagery and not attempt to use it to recognize individual faces, normalizing face scanning presents other societal concerns, Daragh said. Murray, lecturer at the University of Essex. faculty of Law.

“It’s problematic because there are a lot of known biases to try to identify by things like age or gender,” Murray said. “You’re basically looking at a stereotype and people differ so much.”

A 2019 study by a US agency found that facial recognition technology often works unevenly based on a person’s race, gender or age. The National Institute of Standards and Technology found higher error rates for younger and older people. There is no such benchmark for age estimation facial analysis yet, but Yoti’s own published analysis of her results reveals a similar pattern, with slightly higher error rates for women and darker-skinned people.

Meta’s face-swiping motion is a departure from what some of its tech competitors are doing. Microsoft said Tuesday it would stop providing customers with facial analysis tools that “claim to infer” emotional states and identity attributes such as age or gender, citing concerns about “stereotyping, discrimination or unfair denial of services”.

Meta itself announced last year that it was shutting down Facebook’s facial recognition system and deleting the facial prints of more than a billion people after years of scrutiny by courts and regulators. But he signaled at the time that he would not abandon face analysis entirely, moving away from the widespread tagging of social media photos that helped popularize the commercial use of facial recognition towards “forms closer personal authentication”.