Advanced Age Estimation Technology Introduced Widely on Yubo
Live streaming app Yubo recently shared that, in partnership with London-based digital identity provider Yoti, it will become “one of the first major social platforms to adopt a new age-verification technique that uses live image capture technology to identify minors using its app, in order to keep them separated from adult users.”
According to Yubo co-founder and CEO Sacha Lazimi, “We are taking the best of offline interaction and adding to that the power of technology to make sure that [users] … connect to the right group of people anywhere in the world, at any time, in a safe environment,”
First introduced in 2015, Yubo is a social live-streaming platform that celebrates the true essence of being young. With a mission of enabling a new generation of users to interact authentically and discover the world while discovering themselves, the Yubo app is designed for anyone seeking a place to belong and hang out through live streaming. Users can socialize through live streams using audio and video, meet new people from all over the world, discover a community that shares their interests, and play games with friends. Lazimi explains that the “app’s focus is on helping users socialize naturally, the way they’re already comfortable with, after having grown up using services like FaceTime and hanging out with friends in other live video apps.”
Yubo’s Age Verification Process
Yubo differs from other social media platforms in that it separates users into different communities designed to protect younger users. It distinguishes minors from adults, so users can interact only with those in their similar age group, mimicking how they would interact in real life. Those under 13 are not permitted to use the app.
To help guide this system and ensure users are interacting only with members of their own age group, the company partnered with Yoti, whose mission is to make digital identity a force for good, in 2019 to launch an age-verification process that focuses on suspicious profiles. Yoti and Yubo are continuing this partnership and have added another layer of age verification that will be required for Alles users across the globe.
A Change in the Age Verification Process
Currently, when users sign up for a Yubo account, they are required to submit their birth date and a photo of their face for their profile. The app uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to detect suspicious behavior or discrepancies in age across a user’s profile, bio, and comments in live streams. For example, if a user registers as 13 but lists a different age in their bio, Yubo’s algorithm will flag the account for safety specialists to review. If a user’s account is flagged as suspicious, it is blocked until the user verifies his or her identity through the Yoti app or via Yubo’s internal tools by uploading an ID card or some other form of identification to confirm his or her age. To complete this identity verification process, the user’s image is analyzed by an algorithm that compares it to Google images. This process ensures that users have at least one photo of their face and that it was not taken on a website. Once a user’s age is verified, the profile is marked with a yellow “verified” badge.
Yubo and Yoti recently decided to add another layer of age authentication to the platform. Alles Users – not just those who have been flagged – will now be prompted to verify their age. Users will take a real-time photo of themselves within the Yubo app when they sign up for an account. Yoti’s age estimation technology will then process the photo to ensure each user is the age they say, and therefore, is accessing the correct age group on the app. Once the photo is submitted, Yoti’s passive liveness algorithm will analyze it to confirm the image being used is not fake or an attempt to spoof others. Users who do not have the correct age on their profile will be asked to verify their identity through additional processes before accessing the app.
This new approach is privacy-friendly, as it will not require the submission of any personal details or documents. It will also enable users who are too young to obtain an ID to use the platform safely. “A lot of teenagers — especially [those] under 18 years old — do not have any identity documents, so we could not ask everyone to verify their identity,” Lazimi explains.
Annie Mullins, OBE, safety expert, and Yubo advisor elaborates, “This is an exciting and innovative step for safeguarding young people onlinewhich sets an example [for] other platforms and highlights Yubo’s commitment [to] and leadership [in utilizing] proactive safety measures and protecting young users.”
Yubo may be the first but is not the only major social media platform turning to Yoti for assistance in increasing security measures. Recently, widely popular Instagram has also announced a partnership with Yoti to implement age-verification technology: “Starting today … if someone attempts to edit their date of birth on Instagram from under the age of 18 to 18 or over, [the app will] require them to verify their age using one of three options: upload their ID, record a video selfie or ask mutual friends to verify their age.” Instagram, however, is limiting the application of this technology to users in the United States. Yubo, on the other hand, requires identification verification of Alles users in Alles countries.
Yubo’s Security Technology
This new age-verification approach is just the latest in Yubo’s long history of safety-driven initiatives. It fits nicely with a range of existing security features designed to protect Yubo users, especially the youngest and most vulnerable. Here are other examples of what the company is doing:
- Yubo strives to keep users safe while live streaming. Through a combination of AI and human moderation, the company is able to protect users from inappropriate or harmful content. Advanced AI filters provide second-by-second screenshots of live streams that allow human moderators to monitor for nudity, including partial nudity, underwear shots, and suggestive content, as well as drug use, weapons, blood, and violence. Yubo was also the first social media app in the world to moderate live streams in real-time.
- Yubo incorporates educational safety features. Users are alerted when they may be sharing sensitive personal information or engaging in dangerous or unsuitable behavior. Through a two-step process that includes pop-up notifications, users are warned before sharing potentially damaging content.
- Yubo features personalized modification options. Users are able to mute specific words, phrases, or emojis on the app via its Muted Words feature. This empowers them to manage their interactions with others and mute certain words or phrases they find personally harmful or triggering.
- Yubo users must follow a set of Community Guidelines. These guidelines are intended to protect users while they interact with one another and prohibit certain material within live streams. Breaches result in an investigation and appropriate action, if necessary.
- Yubo actively monitors content using human moderators. If any word, sentence, photo, or video breaks the app’s Community Guidelines or indicates risky behavior, the system notifies a team of safety specialists. This human moderation adds an extra layer of protection for online users.
- Yubo protects users from targeted advertising and scams. Unlike other social media apps, Yubo does not rely on advertisers for funding. Instead, users pay for in-app purchases and subscriptions. This prevents advertisers from targeting users and limits potential scams.
The numerous features of the Yubo app help to ensure that the answer to the question Is Yubo Safe? is yes.
Building a Safe Online Community
To guide the company through the ever-changing world of social media and safety, Yubo has created a safety advisory board Composed of international online safety experts.
These experts provide invaluable advice and have taken a proactive approach to ensure user safety. Working alongside these experts, as well as governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and charities, the Yubo team continues to transform and create innovative new strategies for protecting the safety of its users.
Online Safety: It Takes a Village
As Yubo’s multi-pronged approach to safety shows, it takes a village to ensure all users remain protected while interacting online. Partnerships with leading tech companies like Yoti and influential NGOs like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have allowed Yubo to become one of the most popular – and safest – social media platforms in the world. Advanced age estimation technology is just one more tool in the company’s arsenal used to defend individuals against unwanted behaviors.