In a major move, Instagram is introducing a bunch of changes, including mandatory age-verification for people signing up on the photo-sharing service.
The effort, the company says, will help them protect underage kids from the problems stemming from social media and also allow the option to create tailored experiences for users.
Here's all you need to know about the move.
Unlike Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok, Instagram never required users to enter their birthdate - throughout the nine years of its existence.
However, to keep underage kids from joining, it only used to ask users to confirm if they were 13 or older. This (among other things) helped the company create a sense of privacy and distinguish itself from Facebook, its data leak-marred parent.
Instagram's decision to not ask the exact age led to concerns that young vulnerable kids could be exposed to inappropriate content or the company could be gathering data from them, which is restricted under the US Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Despite dodging age-check requirements for years, Instagram has finally decided to embrace it for good.
In a recent announcement, the company said new Instagram users would be required to enter their complete birthdate to join and use the service.
If the account is being connected via Facebook then the birthdate entered on Facebook would be migrated to Instagram, it added.
As part of these changes, Instagram will verify the ages from exact birthdates and block users under 13 from signing up on the service.
"Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer," the company said, adding that the birthdates given by users will be kept private and nobody would be able to see it.
Instagram says the birthdate requirement would also help the company enable more age-appropriate experiences for users.
"We will use the birthday information you share with us to create more tailored [age-specific] experiences, such as education around account controls (staying safe online) and recommended privacy settings for young people," it said.
Notably, it will also help the company restrict certain ads to older users.
Finally, along with the birthdate requirement, Instagram is also bringing a feature to let users block unknown people from sending them direct messages.
The privacy-focused capability, available inside 'Message Control' in settings, will let you choose whether everyone could send you direct messages or only those you follow should be allowed to do so. The same control would be given for group threads, too.
Love Science news?
Subscribe to stay updated.