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Instagram now asks for your age when you create a new account

Instagram says the change will help prevent underage people from joining the photo-sharing app.

Instagram is also giving people more control over direct messages. 
Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

Instagram on Wednesday said it'll now ask for a date of birth when someone creates a new account on the photo-sharing app. The Facebook-owned company said this'll help prevent underage people from joining Instagram and let the app enable more "age-appropriate experiences."

Instagram's terms of service already said users must be at least 13 years old to have an account. But starting Wednesday, people will be required to enter a birth date when setting up a new account. Instagram said people should enter their own date of birth even when creating an account for a business, pet or "something else." Birthdays won't be visible to other Instagram users, the company said.

Despite its terms of service, it's no secret that some people try to skirt the age limit. Last year, Instagram reportedly told moderators to lock accounts of people they suspect are below the age limit even if those accounts are flagged for something else. 

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The app could use age data for things like recommended privacy settings or in-app tips for staying safe online, Instagram's Vishal Shah told Reuters. The change will also reportedly expand Instagram's ability to advertise age-restricted products like alcohol and gambling. 

Instagram on Wednesday said it's also giving people more control over who can send them direct messages. People can now change their settings so that only people they follow are allowed to message them and add them to group threads.