Instagram may soon ask you for your date of birth. Otherwise, you will no longer be able to fully use the app. Those who have not provided any information so far will be asked to do so in the coming weeks. But why do it at all?
Until December 2019, anyone could create an Instagram account without having to provide a date of birth. Since then, the information is mandatory. Nevertheless, there are still numerous accounts without age information. But this is now to be an end.
Instagram asks for date of birth
According to an official blog post, all users will have to provide their date of birth in the future in order to continue using Instagram as usual. Users who have not yet provided any information will be reminded of this via a pop-up window when they open the app.
The same applies to posts with age-related warnings. However, the pop-up windows can initially be clicked away.
Users who continue to ignore the notices even after several reminders will eventually receive a request to enter their date of birth. Those who do not comply will no longer be able to use the app to its full extent.
It is not yet clear whether Instagram will simply restrict some functions or even deny complete access. At the very least, posts with an age restriction will no longer be available to users who do not specify their age.
Protection of minors and age-related functions
Instagram justifies the measure with youth protection and age-appropriate functions. Thus, the social network has already recently started to set new accounts of minors to private by default.
A new feature, in turn, is intended to make it more difficult for adults to contact teens under 18 via direct message if they do not follow them. Previously, that age limit was 16. In addition, the Facebook subsidiary is planning an Instagram for children under 13. Mandatory age information is again considered to be the basis of such features.
AI to check age
The social network is aware that users can also make false statements and make themselves older or younger as required. To counteract this, the company recently began comparing age information with posts such as birthday wishes.
Parent company Facebook is also working on artificial intelligence that will check birth dates based on user behavior. If irregularities occur, users will have to adjust and verify their details. However, it is not yet clear exactly how this will work. The way such AI-based algorithms work is often considered a trade secret.
Data protection and marketing
Even though Instagram does not address this in its blog post, it should be clear that the additional birth data also opens up new opportunities in terms of marketing. The mandatory age information for all users will allow the social network to target its ads even more effectively in the future.
However, users who want to continue using Instagram without restrictions have little choice when it comes to entering their date of birth. However, it is advisable to set the profile information to private so that only friends can see it.
Otherwise, there is a possibility that cybercriminals could misuse the information. Passwords that include birth dates would also be vulnerable to attack with publicly visible information.