Instagram has been clear in stating the fact that they want to do more in creating a safer and more private experience for young people. In order to do that Instagram needs to know how old everyone is, which is why it has started asking people to share their birthdays unless they have shared it previously.
“This information allows us to create new safety features for young people, and helps ensure we provide the right experiences to the right age group. Recent examples include changes we made in March to prevent adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them, and last month we started to default new accounts belonging to people under the age of 16 into a private setting.” says Instagram.
The information will also allow Instagram to personalize a user’s individual experience. Instagram will be able to apply recent changes of restricting advertiser targeting options for audiences under the age of 18, to more people. It will also help in showing people more relevant ads.
“This work began a few years ago when we started asking people for their birthday. While we have birthdays for most people on Instagram, to get a more complete picture we’re introducing two new changes. These changes only apply to people who haven’t already shared their birthday.” says Instagram.
First, Instagram will ask users to share their birthdays when they open the app. The notification will be shown a handful of times but after a point users will have to share it for continuing using Instagram. The social media platform believes that it is necessary for the new features which it is developing to protect young people.
Second, if users see warning screens appear on posts then, Instagram will ask them their birthdays before they are able to see the post. The warning screens aren’t new to Instagram however the option to provide birthdays will be new.
“We recognize some people may give us the wrong birthday, and we’re developing new systems to address this. As we shared recently, we’re using artificial intelligence to estimate how old people are based on things like “Happy Birthday” posts. In the future, if someone tells us they’re above a certain age, and our technology tells us otherwise, we’ll show them a menu of options to verify their age. This work is still in the early stages, and we look forward to sharing more soon.” says Instagram.
With this explanation Instagram hopes that people understand why it has started asking some people for their birthdays and also explain their efforts in providing a safer and more private experience to young people.