Instagram has announced it will begin asking users for their date of birth to prevent underage people from joining and using the platform.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, requires operators to protect the privacy of people under 13 online.
Instagram will now join rival apps like Snapchat in enforcing age limits. Technically, only people age 13 and older are allowed on the platform, and the company hopes to achieve the checking process by asking users for their date of birth. It is unclear how Instagram will be able to fact check the data.
“Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall,” the company wrote.
Users who have signed up for Instagram using their Facebook accounts will automatically see their birthday added to their profile, but the date will not be public.
In the announcement, Instagram also said that this new age data will allow it to “create more tailored experiences” for its 1 billion active monthly users.
It seems that the first step could be to allow businesses to restrict what ages can view their products. This is a feature currently in testing, according to app researcher Jane Manchun Wong.
Instagram is testing age restriction for business accounts pic.twitter.com/Xrlc3gAPyH
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) October 17, 2019
This year the Federal Trade Commission fined popular video app TikTok a record $5.7 million for COPPA violations. TikTok now requires users to enter their birthday when they sign up.
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