Meta: Instagram will test video selfies to verify age of teens
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Instagram is testing ways to verify the age of people using its service, but users are skeptical about how the company will use its data.

TEXAS, USA — Instagram wants to make sure people 17-years-old and under are having age-appropriate experiences.

That means protecting them from adults they don’t know, as well as inappropriate online ads.

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, says that if someone tries to edit their date of birth on Instagram from being under 18 to over 18, the company will require them to verify their age.

Methods used to verify include face-scanning AI or uploading a video selfie. Kids can also select three mutual followers to confirm their age, but those mutual followers must be at least 18-years-old as well.

RELATED: A Ken Paxton lawsuit is why some face filters on Facebook and Instagram were temporarily disabled in Texas

The use of face-scanning AI, especially on teenagers, raised alarm bells, given the checkered history of Instagram parent Meta, when it comes to protecting users’ privacy.

Meta stressed that the technology used to verify people’s age cannot recognize one’s identity — only age. Once the age verification is complete, Meta said it and Yoti, the AI contractor it partnered with to conduct the scans, will delete the video.

Back in May, a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accused the company of misusing facial recognition technology.

The lawsuit caused Meta to temporarily block certain augmented reality filters for Texans. The filters returned a week later.

RELATED: Instagram filters return for Texans, but only if you opt-in

The ban on AR filters also took place in Illinois. The state has a similar law to the CUBI Act in Texas, called the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, meaning the filters can’t be used within the state lines of Illinois.

In April 2022, Facebook settled a class-action lawsuit for upwards of 1.4 million users in Illinois.

Their lawsuit claimed Facebook “collected and stored biometric data of Facebook users in Illinois without proper notice or consent”, which is in violation of Illinois law.

Settlement payments were mailed to residents who fit the definition of “Facebook users located in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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