Instagram wants to be able to bring content and an app experience to its users that is based on their age. That is just one of the changes in their main announcement about the changes that they will be making by 2020 as they try to make the platform safer for their younger members. Users will now be asked to provide their age when creating an account, which is something that they probably should have done in the first place.
In any case, starting now, you will have to provide your date of birth when signing up for a new account. Of course people can always lie about their age but at least there will be stricter policies in place. They actually have an age policy requiring users to be at least 13, at least in most countries. Your age of course will not be displayed publicly and if you signed up through Facebook, they will use the age you listed on that platform.
Starting next year, users will be seeing app experiences and maybe even content that are tailored to their age group. Now how that looks like is still unclear at this point. But for the more adult users, this will probably not affect us that much as this move is more for the younger users and creating a safer environment for them on the platform. The “age appropriate and safer” experience will see recommended privacy controls and even “educational materials” regarding account controls.
You will also now be able to have better control over who can send you direct messages. While sliding into your DMs has become a common thing, it’s not always a pleasant experience for everyone. Users will now be able to set the option that only those that they follow can send direct messages to them. Those that you do not know or who are just spamming you will not show up in your inbox anymore.
All these changes should be rolling out to current Instagram accounts. If you’re signing up for the first time, you’ll need to give your birthday and age already, no matter how “painful” that may be for some.