French startup Yubo is particularly popular with young people under 25 who want to meet new people, play games together and hang out together in video chat rooms. The company has managed to attract 60 million users, which means that the stakes are quite high when it comes to safety. And the company is nearly done verifying the age of 100% of it user base using age estimating technology.
The startup originally started verifying the age of its users back in May. With such a young audience, moderation and safety are extremely important to mitigates risks of child abuse.
Yubo is an app for young people. If you’re 50, you shouldn’t be able to sign up. Similarly, Yubo only accepts users who are 13 or older. Minors using the app are also separated from adult users.
In particular, some young kids pretend that they are 13 to gain access to social platforms like Yubo. But the issue is that many teenagers simply don’t have any identity document. Yubo can’t just ask for a photo of their users’ IDs.
That’s why the startup is using Yoti’s age estimation technology. When a user is required to verify their age, Yoti uses the phone camera to take a photo and a short video of the user’s face.
Based on this data alone, Yoti can correctly verify someone’s age with 98.9% accuracy. Yubo first started verifying the age of everyone who said they were 13 or 14 years old and then rolled out age verification with other age groups.
Yubo just completed age verification for all Yubo users with an iPhone. Up next, Yubo will verify the age of Android users, who represent around 10% of Yubo’s user base — it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks.
If there’s a discrepancy between a user’s age and Yoti’s facial age estimation, Yubo asks its user to go through a full ID check instead. But it’s clear that Yubo is willing to delete some accounts in case it can’t properly verify the age of all its users.
“By continually applying new safety measures, such as mandatory age verification, to our platform, we are taking a clear stance that we are willing to drive away a portion of new users in order to prioritize making Yubo as safe as it can possibly be,” co-founder and CEO Sacha Lazimi said in a statement.
When it comes to moderation, Yubo has developed a real-time moderation system for audio and video livestreams. It uses algorithms to detect problematic content, such as nudity or drug use. Yubo sends alert pop-ups to tell users that they’re doing something inappropriate while it’s happening. Human safety specialists can also intervene when needed.
Age verification is a major move for Yubo. As the company doesn’t rely on ads to generate revenue, it doesn’t need to have as many users as possible. Yubo relies on subscriptions and in-app purchases to unlock additional features. And building a safe community could foster engagement, which could increase revenue.