Instagram demands date of birth from new members

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Instagram will ask new members to provide their date of birth when setting up an account, as it plans more “age-appropriate experiences”.

The photo-sharing network already requires people to be at least 13 years old to create an account.

Asking for a date of birth would help the company to avoid targeting ads for age-restricted products at children, the Reuters news agency reported.

But Instagram said advertising was not behind the change.

“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 said in a blog post.

“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.”

The information will help Instagram stop adult-focused advertisements for gambling, alcohol and birth control from being displayed to children.

But the company said that in the coming weeks it would encourage young members to switch on more privacy settings.

“Understanding how old people are is quite important to the work we’re doing, not only to create age-appropriate experiences but to live up to our longstanding rule to not allow access to young people,” Instagram’s head of product Vishal Shah told Reuters.

‘No verification’

At present, existing members will not be asked to provide their age because Instagram is not sure whether it would be too intrusive to ask, Reuters reports.

Additionally, the Facebook-owned social network will not verify the date of birth information it is given.

“We understand not everyone will share their actual age. How best to collect and verify the age of people who use online services is something that the whole industry is exploring and we are committed to continuing to work with industry and governments to find the best solutions,” the company told the BBC in a statement.

Nobody will have their date of birth publicly displayed on their Instagram profile.

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