Instagram said Wednesday it would require new users to verify they are at least 13 when they join the visually focused, Facebook-owned social network.

The move aims to help Instagram comply with a US law and its own policies that require any user to be at least 13.

“Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall,” an Instagram blog said.

The company said the age information would not be visible to others but would help in creating “age-appropriate and safer experiences” on the social network with more than a billion users.

It was not immediately clear how Instagram would protect against young people providing false information, which has been a persistent issue for social media.

The announcement came a day after a TechCrunch article which noted that Instagram did not follow the example of most of its social media peers in checking the ages of users, which could put the network in violation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act.

The article noted that Facebook and Instagram both employed moderators who may lock the accounts of any users they suspect are under 13.

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AFP