Instagram has recently announced that it will now require new users to enter their birth dates to block underage users from accessing the popular social media platform. The company officials have said that any new user will need to verify that he/she is at least 13 years old before they can join the platform.
Instagram’s latest move will help it comply with both US law and its own policies which require a user to be at least 13. The company has said in the blog post that asking for their birthdate will help them prevent underage children from joining Instagram. Additionally, it will also help in ensuring the safety of young people and enable the digital platform to show more age-appropriate content experience.
Attempts to Safeguard Underage Users and their common limitation
Instagram’s statement has come after an article on a leading technology website pointed out that Instagram hasn’t followed most of its peers in the social media industry in checking the ages of their users. The article had added that this can be a potential violation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act in the United States. However, the article had also noted that Facebook and Instagram both employed moderators who may lock the accounts of any users they suspect are under 13 years of age.
Instagram has assured that the birthdate or related information will not be visible to other users. It will only be used primarily to create age-appropriate and safer experiences for Instagram users. However, it isn’t yet clear how the company plans to protect and prevent underage users from providing false information which has been a common issue across social media platforms.
Earlier this month, a group of Rajya Sabha MPs in India had also looked into the issue of regulating children’s access to pornography on the Internet. Media reports have said that they are also planning to hold deliberations with social media giants (such as Facebook, TikTok, and Google), TRAI, and law enforcement agencies as well as the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).