After all this time, Instagram is Finally Rolling out Age Checkups!

9 years have passed since the launch of Instagram. Over the course of its successful run, the Facebook-owned media sharing service has never emphasized on stopping underage users from registering on the platform. However, things are about to change for the better now.

While signing up, users will be asked to input their birth date. They will only be able to proceed if they are older than 13. However, existing users (underage ones included) will not be asked to fill the age field.

Instagram will also provide younger users with basic info about the new privacy controls and settings implemented for them. It is also incorporating an option for people to be messaged or added in a group only by the ones they follow.

Renowned app researcher Jane Manchun Wong recently spotted the age-check feature in the Instagram code. The code also indicated that the users’ age will be kept private and in case someone links their Facebook and Instagram accounts, their Instagram birthday will sync in accordance with their Facebook profile.

The Child Online Privacy Protection Act doesn’t allow services to retrieve personal information from children younger than 13. It fines $40,000 per violation. To stay away from being issued such a hefty fine, Instagram didn’t use to collect the age information from its users. However, the recent move will help Instagram in preventing underage users from signing up, keeping young audience safer and implementing new age-appropriate settings and features.

Users are required to input their date of birth while creating a profile on Facebook, Snapchat and Tiktok. TikTok was issued a $5.7 million fine by FTC for violating COPPA at one point, after which it implemented an entirely new section in its app where young audience can watch videos. Commenting and posting facilities are not provided in the said section.

An Instagram spokesperson, on being asked by media outlets about the reason for not implementing the age setting sooner, said that the company wanted the platform to be used by everyone to express themselves, regardless of their identity.

Asking users to enter their birth date is a commendable action on Instagram’s part. However, it should do more to verify if people are entering their exact ages. As successful Instagram has been among users of all ages, it is its responsibility to treat user safety as a top priority.

Read next: Instagram Might Soon Restrict Business Accounts by Age
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