Nine years after its launch, Instagram is finally taking the step of asking people signing up for the service to provide their age in an attempt to better protect younger users.
Instagram will ask new users to input their birth date and prohibit users younger than 13 from joining the giant social media engine, starting from today
Starting today, we’ll ask for your birthdate when creating an account, and in the coming weeks, we’ll give you more control over who can message you.
— Instagram (@instagram) December 4, 2019
However, it won’t be asking existing users their age, so Instagram will turn a blind eye to any underage kids already amongst its 1 billion users.
“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 statement.
Instagram said it would use age information to recommend younger people opt for more privacy settings, such as allowing new message requests only from people they follow. Though, birthdays will not be visible to the public.
Users who have signed up for Instagram using their Facebook accounts will automatically see their accounts updated with their birthdays, but the date will not be public information.
Ads for age-restricted products, such as alcohol and tobacco, will no longer be displayed for people under the legal age limit in their country, Instagram added.
Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok already require users to enter their birth date as soon as they start the signup process. TikTok built a whole separate section of its app where kids can watch videos but not post or comment after it was fined $5.7 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.