Instagram will begin asking users to share their birthday to ensure youth safety

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing social networking platform, Instagram will begin requiring users to share their birthdays with the service, in line with its efforts to develop new safety features for young people, the social media app said.

Earlier this year, Instagram had put forward a plan of developing a version of its app for kids under the age of 13, prompting lawmakers to urge Facebook to drop the plans, saying the social media company “has a clear record of failing to protect children on its platforms.”

Starting this week, Instagram says users who have not yet shared their birthday will begin to see pop-up notifications when they open the Instagram app that asks them to add their date of birth for a personalized experience. Though there is a “Not Now” option, the prompt can only be dismissed a handful of times before becoming a requirement, the Facebook-owned app said.

In its blog post, Instagram said that it will use the information to ensure that they provide the right experiences to the right age group. The move is part of the platform’s larger goal to create new safety features aimed at younger users. This includes the teen privacy protections introduced earlier this year, as well as Instagram’s longer-term plan to launch a version of its service aimed at users under the age of 13.

Last month, the company said it would default users under 16 to a private account when they join the platform. It will now default those accounts to “private” and limit them from being suggested elsewhere in the app.

The changes will only affect Instagram users who have not previously shared their birthday on the app. Instagram added it was aware that some users might enter a false birth date and said it was developing a new artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology to address such issues.

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