The age-estimating AI that Meta uses to stop those younger than 13 from joining Instagram is being tested on Facebook. Not the platform itself but its dating app, which requires people to be at least 18 years old to sign up.
As it did with Instagram, Meta is teaming up with a third-party company, Yoti, for the age identification system. It uses machine learning trained on “hundreds of thousands” of pictures to estimate a person’s age. You can try it out anonymously right here if you want to feel young/old. It was pretty accurate when estimating this writer’s age.
The technology will be used to ensure those who sign up for Facebook Dating are at least 18 years old. Users have two options: upload a form of identification or a video selfie.
Meta writes that any form of uploaded ID will be encrypted and stored securely, and it won’t be visible on your Facebook profile or to other people on the app. Once someone’s age has been verified, they can manage how long their ID is saved.
The video selfie option involves Facebook sharing a still image from the video with Yoti. The company then shares the estimated age with Facebook and deletes the photo. Meta writes that 81% of Instagram users choose Yoti’s video selfie option when verifying their age.
The accuracy of Yoti’s tech varies depending on factors such as age ranges, skin tones, and genders—females with darker skin are the least accurate (+/- 3.47 years). It is 99% accurate at guessing if people aged 18 are older or younger than 25.
The age detection feature is currently only available to Facebook Dating users in the US, but the company plans to make it available globally wherever the app is used. Meta will also bring it to more experiences that require people to be over 18 to access them.
Facebook appears to be using the tech only to ensure that someone is over 18, rather than stopping adults from pretending to be much younger or older than they really are.