Instagram may prompt some users for their race or nationality

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Meta-owned Instagram will begin prompting some US users for race and ethnicity data. This is to enable Instagram study how different groups use the platform. In a blog post, the social media giant said a random selection of users in the US will get a pop-up in the app that leads them to a survey.

The survey, according to Instagram, will enable them answer some optional questions on their experience on the platform. According to Instagram, “will not limit the experiences that you have on Instagram, including impacting your reach or how people engage with your content in any way.”

In a video message posted on Twitter, Instagram head Adam Mosseri, said collecting data will help Instagram to explore ways of improving the platform for users. “If we’re going to make sure that Instagram is fair and equitable as an experience, we need to understand how it is working for different communities,” he says.

Collected data will be de-identified, split, and stored across a handful of research institutions, including Texas Southern University, University of Central Florida, Northeastern University, and Oasis Labs. Instagram said individual feedback will not be linked back to user accounts and that the social media giant will only get aggregated data from its partnering institutions.

This information will allow us to better understand the experiences different communities have on Instagram, how our technology may impact different groups, and if there are changes we can make to promote fairness,” Instagram wrote in the blog post. “For example, the analysis we conduct with this information might help us better understand experiences different communities may have when it comes to how we rank content.”

In other news, Instagram is testing new methods for users to verify their age. The method involves using an AI tool built by a third-party company called Yoti, to estimate your real age just by scanning your face.

Users are usually asked to verify their age by sending in pictures of various IDs; and this happens when teenagers try to edit their birth date to show they are indeed 18 or older. The new tool, however, gives users additional options including, social vouching and AI estimation. Both options are now open to users in the US.

With social vouching, Instagram will ask three mutual followers of the user to confirm how old you are. The mutual followers, however, will have to be older than 18, and will have to respond to Instagram’s request within three days.

With AI estimation, a user will have to send a video selfie to a third-party company, Yoti, which makes use of machine learning to estimate a person’s age. Yoti is a well-known face recognition company that uses various facial signals to estimate your real age.

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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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