Im testing an AI system to determine the age of

I******m testing an AI system to determine the age of users from a photo of a face

Social network Instagram* is testing new methods of determining the age of users, including using artificial intelligence algorithms from a third-party company, Yoti, which can scan a person’s face and determine their age with a certain degree of error.

    Image source: Julian Gentilezza/

Image source: Julian Gentilezza/

It is known that Instagram* does not allow children under the age of 13 to use its playground, but the company has never been too strict about this. In particular, until 2019, it did not even ask for the user’s date of birth during registration, let alone verify this information. After the company began paying special attention to children’s advocates, it began using increasingly sophisticated methods to filter its audience.

Nowadays, when a young user tries to change their date of birth by pretending to be a person of 18 years or older, the social network requires you to verify your age. They can require photo ID to verify their age, and now US teenagers have two new options – find elderly sponsors or use artificial intelligence services. The first method requires three common followers, who themselves must be over the age of 18 to vouch for the person. You have three days to respond to the request. The second method is to send a video selfie to a third-party company, Yoti, which it claims uses artificial intelligence to determine age, and whose employees themselves don’t know what the “artificial intelligence” conclusions are based on. based.

    Image source: Yoti

Image source: Yoti

Although Yoti tools are actively used and approved by the UK government and German regulators, the system does not offer 100% accuracy, although it often works with fairly correct estimates. The level of accuracy varies by age, gender, and skin color. For example, the AI ​​is less adept at determining the age of women and black users. For people under the age of 24, the margin of error can be around 2.5 years. You can test the system’s capabilities for free and without registration on the Yoti website.

One can only guess how effective the system really is – it has been experimentally determined that sometimes holding a photo in front of the camera is enough to fool it. It’s unknown what will discourage young users from doing the same or asking for help verifying older comrades’ ages.

It’s not the only tool used by Instagram* – Since last year, the company has been using automated systems to search for people whose age does not match the stated age. For example, special bots are used that track posts with information about birthdays or study information about the user’s friends. On Instagram* explain that they are working on other methods, including, for example, linguistic analysis of the language of social network participants.

* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations for which the court made a final decision, activities on the grounds of Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25, 2002 “On Combating Extremist Activity”.


About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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