Gen Z Social App Yubo Rolls out Age Estimating’ Technology

Yubo, the social live-streaming app for Gen Z, today announces that it is implementing an industry-leading age verification feature in partnership with digital identity provider Yoti. Yubo will become the first major social media app to institute a wide age verification process across its platform to make sure its users are the age they say they are when interacting on the app. This age verification feature has launched in beta stage for users ages 13 and 14 with the goal of age-verifying 100% of all users on the platform by the end of 2022. 

London-based digital identity provider Yoti has been a trusted partner of Yubo since 2019, when Yubo became the first social media app to adopt its privacy-friendly technology to verify suspicious accounts. The partnership will now see them add another layer of age authentication to the platform as Yubo makes ID verification widely accessible within the app. 

Yoti built this technology to give people a secure way to prove how old they are in different everyday scenarios. For Yubo, it will play an important part in protecting its young users by ensuring the separation of minors and adults on the app – one of today’s top online safety challenges. Built with ‘privacy by design’ in mind, this approach will not require any personal details or documents for a user to receive their age estimate, thus their information is never seen by another person. Features of this new system include: 

  • Advanced age verification process: In order to make the age verification seamless and accessible to all users, Yubo’s new system will not require any identification documents unless a user’s age doesn’t match – instead users will take a real-time photo of themselves within the Yubo app, which Yoti’s age estimation technology will then process. The technology will ensure users access the correct age group on the app and enable wide scalability. 
  • Enhanced security: After a user takes their photo, Yoti’s passive liveness algorithm analyses it to confirm the image being used is not a fake or a spoofing attempt. Users who do not have the correct age on their profiles will be asked to verify their identity through additional processes before accessing the app. 
  • Improved accuracy: Yoti’s technology, which is privacy-preserving, continues to grow in accuracy year on year. It is able to correctly verify that a user is above or below an age threshold with 98.9% accuracy, working fairly across all ages, genders, and skin tones. As a trusted identity platform, the Yoti age estimation system can effectively estimate the ages of 6 to 12-year-old users within 1.3 years and those between 13 and 19 within 1.5 years. Yoti’s proprietary liveness detection technology is certified by iBeta, the gold standard for such technologies. 

This new age verification approach is the latest in the platform’s long history of safety-driven initiatives to protect the Yubo community, including real-time AI and human moderation for live streaming, educating users on safe and responsible behaviours online, and working closely with leading safety experts:

  • Keeping users safe on live streams: Yubo is the first platform in the world to undertake real-time intervention in online live streaming. By using AI technology and human moderation, Yubo has created a system that maximises its ability to identify when a user is breaking the rules or putting themselves at risk. Advanced AI filters monitor each live stream by taking screenshots second-by-second and flagging inappropriate content to human moderators in real-time 24/7 on the app. The technology screens for nudity, partial nudity, including underwear, suggestive content, drug usage, weapons, blood and violence.
  • Educational safety features: Educational safety features and personalised modification options are prominent on the app through pop-ups and alerts sent to users if they are participating in harmful and inappropriate behaviours or sharing sensitive personal information. This prompts them to think twice before they share. Users are also empowered to block specific words and phrases on the app that they find upsetting by using the Muted Words feature launched last year. This gives them more control over what type of interactions they want to have and content they want to see. 
  • Safety Advisory Board: Yubo has created a safety advisory board made up of international online safety experts who provide invaluable advice and inform its proactive strategy to safety. Over the past three years, Yubo has worked closely  with this board, as well as governments, NGOs, and charities to evolve and innovate on Yubo’s safety strategy and  identify how else to further protect its users. 

Annie Mullins, OBE, Independent Safety Advisor at Yubo, says, “Yubo has shown relentless dedication to the safety of its users and this expanded partnership with Yoti is just one example of this. It’s critical that any company with young users proactively creates as safe and secure an environment for them as possible. I’m grateful to be a part of Yubo’s safety team as we continue to help keep young people stay safe online through industry-leading technology, partnerships and educational initiatives that show Gen Z how to behave responsibly online. At Yubo, we know online safety is always evolving and so our teams will always strive to be ahead of the curve and innovate with new solutions.”

Robin Tombs, CEO of Yoti, says, “Yubo’s implementation of our industry-leading age estimation technology, combined with our liveness detection, is an exciting and innovative step for safeguarding young people online. Yubo was the first social media company to adopt our identity verification technology in 2019, and we are proud to see the company’s continued commitment to user safety with the integration of this new approach.”

Marc-Antoine Durand, COO of Yubo, says, At Yubo, we passionately believe in empowering Gen Z to interact safely online and giving them a place to discover and belong. Expanding on our partnership with Yoti through this identity verification technology will help us continue building on what is most important – the protection of our users. Many young people under 16 do not have any form of ID, which makes the standard identification processes difficult. With the ability to verify users’ age without ID, we can be inclusive of all our users and add another important layer to our extensive safety practices. This technology will help us take another step towards ensuring that our young users feel safe and comfortable on Yubo.”