Meta is bringing their age verification tools to Facebook Dating to verify that only adults are using the service. Facebook Dating is not the first of Meta’s platforms to use AI verification tools. Last year Instagram started it off by asking its users to provide their date of birth. Shortly after, this summer, Meta introduced new ways of verifying age on Instagram by asking some of its U.S. users to send pictures of their ID cards to confirm that they are 18 or older.
Even though Facebook Dating is not a serious competitor in the online dating field, it still has its fair share of users. Even Tinder is struggling to keep up with the best dating apps out there.
It’s unclear exactly how Meta detects whether someone is not being honest about their age. Meta stated that their AI-powered age identification technologies can scan comments and make various conclusions about the targeted user. For example, the AI could conclude that the user celebrates their birthday on a specific day because of a massive spike in comments mentioning words such as “happy birthday” and a specific number. If the information obtained by the AI does not match the one that the user put in, Meta will contact that user asking for verification.
Making Sure That Minors Stay Protected
Meta will once again work with Yoti, an online age verification provider they worked with when they implemented the age restrictions in order to give young people a safer experience on Instagram. Yoti will, once again, closely monitor the activity of Meta’s users, this time on Facebook Dating. If found suspicious, any user can be prompted to prove their identity.
Even though a social media platform such as Instagram poses some risks for a minor, it’s nothing compared to a dating site. Ever-growing regulations on providing a safe environment for said minors motivate companies like Meta to leave no room for mistakes.
As soon as the AI detects that someone might be under 18 on their Facebook Dating platform, a similar action to what happened on Instagram occurs. The user will be notified that they must prove their identity and age. To do so, the user can choose between two options. The first, more traditional option is to upload their ID to Facebook. They then encrypt and store the image of the ID for up to 1 year.
The second option that Yoti brings to the table is a video selfie which Yoti analyzes and picks the most fitting still image to estimate the age based on the user’s facial features. The image is not stored on any servers as Yoti needs it for a one-time analysis, after which it gets deleted.
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Meta Claims the Technology Has Shown Great Results So Far
Claiming that its age verification technology already yielded results on Instagram, Meta shared some statistics.
Meta claims that the most popular identification method is the video selfie, where the user records their face and lets Yoti determine their age. 81% of respondents chose this option.
Regarding the prevention of minors in their attempts to create accounts meant for adults, Meta says:
Various privacy protection groups advocate against using the method that involves uploading someone’s ID to a public server like Facebook. They state that nothing can be too secure online and that the information that Facebook wants to store is far too valuable.
The skepticism is reasonable since Meta already had its share of leaks and breaches such as when an Irish data regulator fined it €265 million over a data breach.
Facebook Dating age verification will be available around the world in the future, for now, it will live in the U.S. says Meta.