Instagram will ask new members to provide their date of birth when setting up an account as they plan more “age-appropriate experiences.”
The photo sharing network already requires people to be at least 13 years old to create an account.
Asking for a date of birth would help the company avoid targeting ads for age-restricted products in children, Reuters reported.
But Instagram said advertising was not behind the change.
“Asking for this information will help prevent minors from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer, and provide more age-appropriate experiences overall,” the company said in a blog post.
“We’ll use the birthday information you share with us to create more personalized experiences, such as education about account controls and youth-recommended privacy settings.”
The information will help Instagram prevent adult ads for games, alcohol, and birth control from showing to children.
But the company said that in the coming weeks, it would encourage young members to activate more privacy settings.
“Understanding people’s age is very important to the work we’re doing, not just to create age-appropriate experiences, but to comply with our longstanding rule of not allowing young people access,” said Instagram’s product manager, Vishal Shah, to Reuters. .
Currently, existing members will not be asked to provide their age, because Instagram is unsure if it would be too intrusive to ask, reports Reuters.
In addition, the Facebook-owned social network will not verify the date of birth information provided.
Criticizing the plan, the NSPCC charity said in a statement: “Asking users to provide an unverifiable date of birth will do nothing in practice to protect children from harmful or age-inappropriate content.
“Future regulation will force platforms to go further and require them to proactively apply additional protections to children’s accounts by default.
“But above all, the emphasis should be on ensuring that platforms are safe first for children to use.”
Facebook said, “We understand that not everyone will share their real age. The best way to collect and age check people using online services is something the entire industry is exploring and we are committed to continuing to work with industry and governments to find the best solutions. “
No one will have their date of birth publicly posted on their Instagram profile.