Meta Platforms has been testing technology to keep users under 18 from accessing adult-oriented experiences.
The company said Monday (Dec. 5) it had begun expanding these tests to Facebook Dating in the U.S. to prevent minors from accessing the service. The move comes as the company is pledging a renewed emphasis on social media following a months-long pivot to the metaverse.
“We want to make sure people are placed in experiences that are appropriate for their ages, so we use technology to understand where people have misrepresented how old they are,” Meta said in a blog post.
To that end, the company says it has invested in age detection technology to spot possible discrepancies in the ages people provide them and the age they think users might be based on their technology. If they come across someone who might be under 18, they will be asked to verify their age through one of two methods.
The first is a video selfie. After the user records this video, Facebook will share an image from it with the age verification technology company Yoti, which “estimates your age based on your facial features, shares that estimate with us, and the image is then deleted immediately. The technology cannot recognize your identity — just your age.”
The other option is uploading a form of identification, which Facebook will encrypt and store securely, the company said. Users can also control how long their ID is saved after their age has been verified.
These tools let parents and guardians see how much time their kids spend on the app and set limits. Parents can also get notified when their kids share that they’ve reported another user, and receive updates about the accounts their children follow and are followed by.
Last month, Meta Founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to correct the perception that his company is primarily focused to building the metaverse.
“The vast majority of my time and the vast majority of the company’s effort is going toward social media efforts,” Zuckerberg said during the DealBook Summit in New York.
Investors’ worries that he and Meta had not been paying attention to the firm’s core business have led to a 64% drop in the price of the company’s shares in the past year, along with sweeping layoffs.