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Instagram will soon insist on knowing your birthday

Instagram will soon require you to supply your birthday details if you’re to continue posting holiday pictures to the social media app.

If you’ve noticed Instagram getting a little nosey of late, you’re not being paranoid. The Facebook-owned company is on a mission to boost safety for its younger users, and the latest part of that is compulsory birthday identification.

In a fresh blog post on the Instagram website, VP of Youth Products Pavni Diwanji outlined the company’s new initiative. This will entail prompting its users to supply their birthdays, if they haven’t already.

These prompts can be dismissed the first few times, but eventually you’ll have to provide your birthday details if you’re to continue using Instagram. Posts containing sensitive content are already blurred out, but these will now require appropriate birthday information to view.

The company started asking for its users’ birthdays several years ago, but this is the first time it’s become a requirement for access.

Diwanji acknowledged that some users are likely to provide false birthday information, but revealed that the company was working on new systems to recognise and counteract this. Instagram already uses AI to figure out how old a person is likely to be based on their previous Happy Birthday posts.

In future, any clashes between how old a user says they are and how old Instagram’s systems say they’re likely to be will prompt a verification screen.

Of course, Diwanji also confirmed that the provision of your birthday details will enable Instagram to “show you more relevant ads”. But the main thrust of Instagram’s case is firmly on the security and protection front.

Back in March, the company made changes to prevent adults from sending messages to under-18s who didn’t follow them, while in July the company made it so that any new accounts from people under 16-years-of-age would default to a private setting.

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