Instagram now requires your age at sign-up and has new messaging controls

Instagram logo on a Galaxy S10
Instagram logo on a Galaxy S10 (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Instagram will now require you to enter your birth date when signing up for the service.
  • Your birth date will not be publicly visible, but you will be able to view it on your account.
  • You can also add your birth date manually, or if you have your Facebook account connected, Instagram it will use the birth date you entered there.
  • There will also be a new option that allows you to restrict messages and group message requests from all users except those that you follow.

Over the years, Instagram has come under scrutiny concerning privacy and protecting younger users. Most recently, TechCrunch called out Instagram over not requiring users to disclose their age during the sign-up process. Other apps, such as Snapchat or TikTok, require users to enter their age upon signing up. It seems that post struck a nerve with Instagram, because within two-days of publishing that article, Instagram announced a change to its sign-up policy.

Now, going forward, all users will be required to enter their age when signing up for the service. That means in most countries you won't be able to make an Instagram account if you're under the age of 13. However, that is unlikely to stop younger users from using a fake birthday anyways.

You will also be able to add your date of birth manually, or if you've connected your Facebook account, Instagram will use that information. It's important to note that, while Instagram will have your birth date, it will not be made public and will only be visible to you.

Source: Instagram

Beyond preventing underaged users from signing up for the platform, Instagram says it will also use this information to build age-appropriate and safer experiences.

In the coming months, we will use the birthday information you share with us to create more tailored experiences, such as education around account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people.

Finally, Instagram has also added controls to prevent unwanted messages and group chat invites. The new feature allows you to restrict messages to only people you follow. After you have enabled this, "you won't receive any new message requests or story replies from anyone you don't follow."

Instagram: Everything you need to know

Jason England