What just happened? Instagram Facebook is testing the age-based AI that Meta uses to prevent people under 13 from joining Instagram. Not the platform itself, but its dating app, which requires people to be at least 18 years old to register.
As with Instagram, Meta is teaming up with a third-party company, Yoti, to create an age identification system. It uses machine learning trained on “hundreds of thousands” of images to estimate a person’s age. You can try it anonymously right here if you want to feel young/old. It was pretty accurate when assessing the age of this writer.
This technology will be used to ensure that those who register on Facebook Dating are at least 18 years old. Users have two options: upload an ID card or a video selfie.
Meta writes that any form of uploaded ID will be encrypted and securely stored, and it will not be visible in your Facebook profile or to other people in the app. After confirming someone’s age, they can control how long their ID will be stored.
The video selfie option assumes that Facebook will share a still image from the video with Yoti. The company then shares the estimated age with Facebook and deletes the photo. Meta writes that 81% of Instagram users choose the Yoti video selfie option when confirming their age.
The accuracy of Yoti technology varies depending on factors such as age range, skin tone and gender — women with darker skin are less accurate (+/- 3.47 years). With 99% accuracy, it is possible to determine whether people aged 18 are older or younger than 25.
The age detection feature is currently only available to Facebook Dating users in the US, but the company plans to make it available worldwide, wherever the app is used. Meta will also bring more features that require people to be over the age of 18 to access.
It seems that Facebook is only using this technology to make sure that someone is over 18, and not to prevent adults from pretending to be much younger or older than they really are.