Instagram Wants to Know How Old You Are The new policy is part of Instagram's ongoing effort to protect younger users -- and to not run afoul of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

By Michael Kan

This story originally appeared on PCMag

via PC Mag

Instagram is taking a small step to prohibit kids under the age of 13 from using the app. Starting today, the Facebook-owned property will ask new users to enter their date of birth when they sign up.

The new policy only applies to new users, and tweens desperate to sign up can just lie about their birthday because Instagram will use an honor system and won't actually be verifying new users' ages.

Related: What You Need to Know About Instagram's New Creator Account

"Millions of teens online often don't have any means to prove their age or identity and the ability for AI/machine learning to accurately identify younger users is still in its early stages," an Instagram spokesperson said.

Still, the new policy is part of Instagram's ongoing effort to protect younger users — and to not run afoul of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

"In the coming months, we will use the birthday information you share with us to create more tailored experiences, such as education around account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people," the Facebook-owned service said in today's announcement.

COPPA bans internet companies from collecting personal data about those under the age of 13 without parental consent. As a result, most sites just prohibit young users rather than deal with the verification headache. But Instagram has never actually asked users for their age.

Related: How to Use Your Instagram to Create a Lucrative Career

"Historically, we didn't require people to tell us their age because we wanted Instagram to be a place where everyone can express themselves fully — irrespective of their identity," a spokesperson said. That's now about to change.

There are some trade-offs with Instagram's new approach. On the one hand, knowing someone's age can help Instagram automatically apply the strongest privacy and security safeguards to its youngest users. But on the flip side, the same users are giving up their birth date information to a service owned by Facebook, a company notorious for mishandling's people personal data. However, Instagram says the birth date information will not be made visible to other users on the platform and only appear on your private account information page.

Wavy Line
Michael Kan


Michael has been a PCMag reporter since October 2017. He previously covered tech news in China from 2010 to 2015, before moving to San Francisco to write about cybersecurity.

Editor's Pick

She's Been Coding Since Age 7 and Presented Her Life-Saving App to Tim Cook Last Year. Now 17, She's on Track to Solve Even Bigger Problems.
I Helped Grow 4 Unicorns Over 10 Years That Generated $18 Billion in Online Revenues. Here's What I've Learned.
Want to Break Bad Habits and Supercharge Your Business? Use This Technique.
Don't Have Any Clients But Need Customer Testimonials? Follow These 3 Tricks To Boost Your Rep.
Why Are Some Wines More Expensive Than Others? A Top Winemaker Gives a Full-Bodied Explanation.

Related Topics

Business News

Oscar Mayer Is Changing the Name of Its Iconic Wienermobile

The company is slamming the brakes on its wiener on wheels and rolling out a new meaty ride.


Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don'ts of Video Conferencing

As more and more businesses go remote, these are ways to be more effective and efficient on conference calls.

Growing a Business

The Best Way to Run a Business Meeting

All too often, meetings run longer than they should and fail to keep attendees engaged. Here's how to run a meeting the right way.


Take Your Social Media Earning Potential Sky-High With This $79.97 Quadcopter

Get this beginner-friendly drone for a great price for Father's Day.

Growing a Business

Subscribers Exclusive Event: Discover How These 2 Founders Turned Their Side Hustle into a Million-Dollar Lifestyle Brand

Learn how you can transform your personal brand into a thriving business empire with co-founders of The Skinny Confidential