Meta is testing a new age verification system on the Facebook Dating platform to determine if you’re over 18 – but if you only live in the US.
Verify age on Facebook Dating (opens in a new tab) seems to take cues from both Tinder and Bumble’s systems. Meta will offer users two different ways to verify their age: through a selfie video or by uploading a photo of their ID, which is very similar to how Facebook confirms account identity (opens in a new tab).
For selfies, the platform is getting help from digital identity company Yoti. According to Meta, selfie videos work by providing users with a series of instructions on the Facebook app that ask them to create certain poses as their smartphone camera captures them.
That video is then sent to Yoti, where the company will scan your face and estimate your age. If it identifies your face as over 18, your profile is now verified. Meta states that both companies will not save selfie videos because each video will be deleted immediately after determining your age. And the AI won’t learn people’s faces or recognize identities.
If the name “Yoti” sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same company that Meta uses on Instagram’s age verification system to protect minors. Video selfies are used in a similar way with users making certain poses, after which the system takes about 20 minutes to verify their age. But unlike Facebook, it seems Yoti keeps the data from Instagram (within 30 days of upload) instead of deleting it immediately.
The announcement also claims Yoti trained its AI by showing it “individuals of different ages, genders and skin colors”. Facial recognition technology has had a sketchy past with accuracy and recognition of people with darker skin tones. In addition, many people are concerned about have their faces tracked. At face value, Meta is addressing those concerns, which is fine, but no one can blame you if you’re still worried.
We asked Meta whether and when the facial recognition test would be applied to other regions of the globe. Facebook Dating is available in over 50 other countries including Argentina, Singapore and the UK, to name just a few. This story will be updated later.
At this point, you’re probably telling yourself that you didn’t know that Facebook had a dating service. By all accounts, Facebook Dating is not a very popular service, at least not in the US due to some stiff competition for huge rates.
Meta has never provided verifiable evidence of the number of people using Facebook Dating. The closest we can find is a 2021 report from The Verge (opens in a new tab) which states 278,000 singles in New York City use Facebook Dating. In a word, Bumble has claimed to have three million users in New York back in 2018 (opens in a new tab). We can’t help but wonder what comes first: Facebook Dating shuts down or launches age verification.
Be sure to check TechRadar’s 2022 Best Dating Apps List if you are looking for a platform with more options, verifiable.