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British digital ID startup Yoti trials Instagram age verification

Yoti Instagram age verification
Image credit: Instagram

London-based digital identification software startup Yoti has launched a trial with Facebook-owned Instagram to test its age verification technology on the social media platform.

The partnership between Yoti and Instagram will begin by testing US users who try to edit their date of birth to appear over 18. Instagram will request them to upload their ID, record a video or ask friends for confirmation.

When asked if Instagram was looking to make age verification mandatory for new users, a company spokesperson said:

“To start with we are focusing this test on people attempting to change their date of birth from under 18 to 18 and over – we’re working to understand when someone may be misrepresenting their age, and providing our menu of options to those people.

“We will continue to look for more opportunities to test and expand the menu of options to verify age.”

Yoti told UKTN that it couldn’t comment on Instagram’s plans but said its software would not be used on Meta’s other platforms – Facebook, Occulus and WhatsApp – at this moment in time.

According to Instagram, it treats the accounts of users under and over 18 differently, with those under 18 defaulted to a private account.

The trial is another sign that companies are embracing digital ID verification and another endorsement of Yoti’s technoogy.

In May, cinema chains across the UK began accepting Yoti’s digital ID as valid proof of age. It also became the first government-approved digital ID provider earlier this month.

Robin Tombs, Yoti’s CEO and co-founder, recently spoke with UKTN to discuss talking artificial intelligence and social media.

Earlier this year the government proposed a ‘trustmark’ for digital identity firms to make them equivalent to traditional physical documents.

However, privacy campaigners have said digital IDs are not necessary and risk alienating those who choose not to use the service.