The Roblox Corporation has made a decision to introduce an ID-based age verification service to confirm users’ ages.
The service is currently an opt-in service and according to the developer, will signal a level of trust between the users and will enable the platform to provide better methods for age-appropriate communication between creators.
As announced on the Roblox blog, the developers said that age verification is important due to the new communication tool they plan to introduce; spatial voice.
This feature, which is currently in developer beta testing, will allow users to voice chat within spatial voice experiences in Roblox. It will also reportedly mirror real life conversations and will be affected by proximity, tone of voice, and more.
Due to the age verification being an opt-in feature, only those who go through the process will be able to access it when it becomes available for public beta.
According to the Senior Product Manager, Chris Ashton Chen, “As our community continues to expand, both globally and by age (nearly 50% of the users on our platform are over the age of 13 as of Q2 2021), we want to make sure that everyone can express themselves in a safe and respectful way.’
He went on to state that knowing a user’s age and identity is a critical foundation for metaverse safety and civility, adding that they are developing new ways to maintain that sense of safety and civility while always respecting users’ privacy.
The way age verification works is in two stages. The first stage involves sending an ID document via its app to the corporation, which will verify it. The documents can be anything from an ID card, a passport, or even a driver’s license.
The second stage has the user taking a selfie using the system. Roblox stated that this stage will check for “liveness” (whether or not the image is of a real human and not, say… a photo) and “likeness” (how close the selfie represents the image in the ID documents).
Roblox also added that they will not be storing users raw ID documents or selfie data. Instead, when a government-issued document is scanned, it generates an anonymized value, which lets Roblox verify identity without exposing the user’s real identity.
These steps are similar to the ID verification used in gambling sites and financial apps. With the platform having an abundance of young gamers, hopefully such strict measures help ensure their safety.
Roblox made headlines earlier this year when it was discovered that a number of real life mass shootings had been recreated on it.
This only emphasizes the need for better safety on the platform, especially since so many kids use it.