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Instagram will now ask new users for their birthdates

By Ramla Soni

Instagram has started to require birthdates from users when making an account so it can expand the audience for alcohol-related ads and age-restricted products

Instagram has started to require birthdates from users when making an account. This move is geared towards expanding the audience for alcohol related ads and other age-restricted products while offering new safety measures for younger users.

Until now, the only age verification Instagram has required for its users is to agree that they are at least 13 years old and it has only required birthdates in limited circumstances.

The new compulsory age requirement will not be applicable to existing users for now and birthdays of new users will not be visible to others.

Advertisers were not the main reason for the new requirement. Gambling and birth control are among other types of ads restricted to older audiences by Instagram policies and laws.

The policy change could help prevent passage of costly child safety and data privacy regulations as lawmakers and family safety groups in the US, Britain and elsewhere criticise the app for exposing children to inappropriate material.

“Understanding how old people are is quite important to the work we’re doing, not only to create age-appropriate experiences but to live up to our longstanding rule to not allow access to young people,” Instagram’s head of product Vishal Shah told Reuters.

In addition, Instagram will also soon introduce options for users to block messages from people they do not follow and for both businesses and verified users to more easily restrict minors from viewing their posts, Shah said.

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