Instagram’s insatiable thirst for your personal data now comes with a threat: hand it over, or else.
The Facebook-owned social media platform announced Monday that, going forward, users will be required to submit their birthdays to the company. If they don’t feel like complying, then they won’t be able to use the service.
“We’ll show you a notification a handful of times and if you haven’t provided us with your birthday by a certain point, you’ll need to share it to continue using Instagram,” reads the press release.
What’s more, Instagram says that plans are in the works to catch people inputting fake birthdays.
“We recognize some people may give us the wrong birthday, and we’re developing new systems to address this,” warns the company. “As we shared recently, we’re using artificial intelligence to estimate how old people are based on things like ‘Happy Birthday’ posts.”
Instagram claims that this latest data grab is in the best interests of its users, and references a March move to make it harder for adults to message users under the age of 18.
“This information allows us to create new safety features for young people, and helps ensure we provide the right experiences to the right age group,” explains the company. “For example, [with users’ birthdays] we can apply recent changes we made to restrict advertiser targeting options for audiences under the age of 18 to more people.”
However, Instagram is also quick to admit that it benefits from this new policy, too.
“[Knowing users’ birthdays] also helps us show you more relevant ads.”
Instagram’s help center makes clear that, once given, there’s no way to claw your birthday back from the company.
“Note that once you add your birthday to your profile, it can’t be removed,” warns Instagram.
Oh, and in case anyone was inclined to find a silver lining in this news — perhaps Instagram’s new birthday policy will make it easier to remember friends’ birthdays? — Instagram dashes that hope, too.
“Also, your birthday won’t be shared with other people on Instagram.”
So there you have it. One of the world’s most data hungry companies just got a little greedier. Time to feed the beast.
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