After gathering more than one billion users on the platform, Instagram has finally decided check their age. Therefore, all new users who sign up will be required to enter their birth date. The social media giant claims that this will “prevent underage people from joining Instagram” and help to “build a safer experience for the youngest members.”
Starting today, Instagram will be asking for the users’ date of birth when they create an account. In case you sign up with Facebook, the birth date on your profile will automatically be added to Instagram. In either case, this information won’t be visible to other users. You’ll be able to see it within your private account information.
“In the coming months, we will use the birthday information you share with us to create more tailored experiences, such as education around account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people,” Instagram writes. However, there are two major problems in this approach.
First, as I mentioned, there are already one billion active Instagram users. As you can guess, many of them are underage, but Instagram will only be checking the birthdays of the new users. And second, this system is way too easy to bypass. It’s enough to put a fake date of birth and voila. I can’t even count my former students who created Facebook profiles like this when they were 10-11 years old.
I believe Instagram’s intention is good. Also, I believe that they’re required to check the users’ age under the Child Online Privacy Protection Act. However, if they really want to filter out users under 13, I think they should come up with a more reliable system of age checking.
[via Tech Crunch]