Dec 5, 2022 - Technology

Exclusive: Meta testing age verification on Facebook Dating

Illustration of a heart-shaped lock with a binary code background

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Meta is testing age verification tools on Facebook Dating, a move the company says will make the product safer, per an announcement shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: Meta and other tech platforms are getting ahead of a regulatory environment increasingly focused on the safety of children and teens online, with policy changes underway in the U.S. and abroad.

Flashback: Facebook Dating launched in 2019 in the wake of the company's Cambridge Analytica data-privacy scandal, and it has lagged behind competitors in the U.S.

Driving the news: Meta is launching a test of age verification tools it says have been successful on Instagram to limit usage to adults.

  • Meta will test two alternative approaches: video selfies, which will be screened through partner company Yoti's software which estimates age from a user's uploaded image; or ID uploads.

What they're saying: Meta says these techniques have proven effective on Instagram, where testing since June showed the service was able to keep 96% of teens who tried to edit their birthdays from doing so.

  • "We are considering, across our services, what are the places that we want to focus on understanding age in order to ensure people are in the right experience?" Erica Finkle, Meta director of data governance, told Axios. "This is a natural place where it's important for us to start testing early on."
  • Meta plans on rolling out the age verification test in other countries where Facebook Dating operates and across other Meta products that require users to be 18 and over.

Be smart: The company's age verification push aims to show both users and regulators that it's a good steward of data and children's privacy.

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