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Instagram strengthens child protection tools, including age prediction

Facebook-owned Instagram has unveiled a technology aimed at preventing underage children from creating accounts and banning adults from contacting young users they do not know.

This was the latest step in response to concerns about inappropriate communication between adults and children on the platform, which like most services set an age of at least 13.

Instagram will begin using artificial intelligence to determine a user’s age upon registration in an effort to find underage users.

“While a lot of people are honest about their ages, we know that young people can lie about their birthdate. We want to do more to prevent this from happening, but verifying people’s ages online is complicated and it’s something many in our industry grapple with.”

“To meet this challenge, we are developing new artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help us keep teens safe and implement new age-appropriate features.”

In addition, the California giant said it will introduce a new feature that prevents adults from sending messages to people under the age of 18 who do not follow them, so as to prevent unwanted communication.

“This feature relies on our work to predict the ages of people using machine learning technology, and the age that people give us when they sign up,” Instagram said.

Instagram is also looking at ways to make it more difficult for adults who exhibit “suspicious behavior” to interact with teens, including restricting those adults from seeing suggested teen accounts.

The image-focused network indicated it would alert teens to possible suspicions of adult behavior, including sending large numbers of private messages.

Instagram said: “We will use this tool to alert recipients … and give them an option to end the conversation, block, report or restrict the adult.”

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