FB pixel

Roblox biometric, Instagram liveness features seem to subtract trust

Roblox biometric, Instagram liveness features seem to subtract trust

Working to make social media safe for all subscribers may be the most thankless task after spotting and deleting anti-vax lies. And yet executives just keep making things more difficult.

A pair of news stories this week, one about Roblox’ biometrics and another about Meta‘s Instagram, show a corporate pattern: ready, fire, aim.

The Washington Post wrote this week about voice chat, a newer, opt-in function available on Roblox’s world-building online game of the same name.

Long a favorite capability for players of first-person shooter games, voice chat is creeping into internet quarters marketed more at families and younger players. Voice functions are part of the coming metaverse.

Roblox the adventure game, with its simplistic blocky, build-it-yourself aesthetic, is one of those platforms that younger children particularly like. Players have to be at least 13 years old to use the voice chat function, typing their birthdate in a form.

To use voice chat, subscribers have to prove their age and identity by submitting a selfie and a government-issued ID – a biometric authentication protocol that even if it were perfectly effective, raises privacy and other concerns. Roblox has already suffered multiple data breaches.

It is unclear if subscribers and the parents of minor subscribers are aware of the feature, its safety protocols and privacy protections.

Company executives discussing the capability have said ID data will not be stored, and the selfie is only used for a biometric check to confirm the picture ID matches the person presenting it. Data for the age verification system is encrypted by Veriff, which passes on whether the user verification has been passed.

According to reporting by the Post and others, children playing Roblox are mixing with other players creating, for example, their own fascist, slaveholding communities, making simulated sex noises and unleashing racial slurs.

A senior PR executive at Roblox, is quoted in the Post story saying that safety is the company’s top priority. The company reportedly has added voice chat over a year to be careful with safety. One of the earliest mentions of the feature was in September.

Minors and others overhearing obnoxious or worse conversations does not seem to have come up over that time. And there have been numerous stories about the twists governments are going through to create age verification methods that do not also compromise privacy rights.

Instagram is getting heat for its verification process, too. And like Roblox, Instagram says it has worked methodically to perfect its process and policy, and yet subscribers say they have been blind-sided.

According to The Verge, Instagram executives have chafed under the onslaught of bot subscribers. Their answer has been to throw a request in the face of subscribers for a video selfie to prove liveness.

And, as pointed out in The Verge article, the official Instagram Comms Twitter account notes, liveness authentication is just “one of the ways we use video selfies.” Another tweet notes that Instagram does not use facial recognition.

That open-endedness is good for investors, of course, but it is a red flag for people wanting to protect their privacy.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News


Biometric ID cards remain foundational, but don’t count out fingerprint smart cards

Biometric national ID cards top the most-read news of the week on Biometric Update, between a contract in Cameroon for…


DHS and TSA adjust digital strategies with biometrics, facial recognition

U.S. government agencies are adapting in real time to a digital landscape transformed by AI, identity fraud, deepfakes and biometric…


Finger vein biometrics from Global ID deployed in Namibia’s fight against HIV

A new application of Global ID’s finger vein biometrics to help reduce HIV Infections among vulnerable young people is launching…


Bill allowing biometric age verification for booze sales moves to Missouri Senate

The Maryville Forum reports that Missouri retailers could soon perform age verification using biometric methods such as facial recognition or…


Victorians sign up for mobile driving licenses in droves but let down at the pub

Victoria reports 200,000 people signing up for mobile driving licenses (mDLs) within the first 48 hours of their introduction this…


Retail biometrics queues up from shopping malls to quick serve restaurants

Despite skepticism among American consumers, biometric payments in retail are about to have a moment, according to some experts. These…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events