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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Instagram seeks your birthday to make the platform safer

The move comes as a measure to ensure child safety, provide the right experiences to the right age group

Mathures Paul Published 01.09.21, 04:45 AM
Instagram is ensuring users register their birthdays so that young users feel safe.

Instagram is ensuring users register their birthdays so that young users feel safe. Picture: Instagram

You have to share your birthday with Instagram to make it a safer place to be in. The company has announced that it will start popping up a notification asking you for your birthday, something you can dismiss a few times but ultimately a date has to be provided.

In case you are new to Instagram, obviously you couldn’t have skipped this step but those who have been on the platform prior to 2019, it was possible to skirt around the topic, something that’s becoming increasingly difficult.

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The information will help expand safety features for young people. “This information allows us to create new safety features for young people, and helps ensure we provide the right experiences to the right age group. Recent examples include changes we made in March to prevent adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them, and in July we started to default new accounts belonging to people under the age of 16 into a private setting,” said Pavni Diwanji, VP of youth products at Instagram.

In March, there were reports that Instagram was working on a version for the under-13 crowd, something the platform’s head Adam Mosseri had confirmed in a tweet: “A version of Instagram where parents have control, like we did with Messenger Kids, is something we’re exploring.” Though a large number of parents have complained about the development but we can’t overlook the fact that many children are offering false information simply to explore the platform.

To sniff out fake birthdays, the company says there will be age-detection AI at play in the future. In July, Facebook has said it was using technology to analyse “multiple signals”. “We look at things like people wishing you a happy birthday and the age written in those messages, for example, ‘Happy 21st Bday!’ or ‘Happy Quinceanera.’ We also look at the age you shared with us on Facebook and apply it to our other apps where you have linked your accounts and vice versa — so if you share your birthday with us on Facebook, we’ll use the same for your linked account on Instagram. This technology isn’t perfect, and we’re always working to improve it,” Diwanji had said.

Last month, it was found that Snapchat could learn user birthday analysing information they may have indirectly offered while using Snapchat’s Astrological Profile feature. It was not a privacy-centric issue.

Just the facts

• In March changes were made to prevent adults from sending messages on Instagram to people under 18 who don’t follow them.

• In July, Instagram started to default new accounts belonging to people under the age of 16 into a private setting.

• Recently, Facebook shared a note on how it is using artificial intelligence to estimate how old people are.

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