Image Credits: TechCrunch
Instagram just introduced a new set of security and transparency tools. In a blog post titled “New Tools to Keep Instagram Safe”, the company announced three major updates: an about this account section to give users more context about accounts with large followings, a form through which accounts can now also request verification and support for third-party authenticator apps.
👤 The new ‘About This Account’ section
The new About This Account section is intended to give users more information that they can use when evaluating the legitimacy of an account. The feature is available by tapping the menu button from an account with substantial reach and will provide information like when an account was created, the country in which it is based, accounts that share followers and the recent username changes that have taken place.
The feature will also link accounts with large audiences to the Instagram ads they are running, a nod to recent conversations around ad transparency in light of Russian government-sponsored political ads and disinformation seeping into social platforms.
According to Instagram, “In September, people who have accounts that reach large audiences can review the information about their accounts that will soon be publicly available.” When that period is over, the About This Account tool will launch to users around the globe.
✅ Verification Requests
The second major Instagram change will offer accounts a path toward verification on the platform, standardizing a process that’s generally been opaque. A blue verified badge can be requested through a user’s own profile by tapping the menu icon, choosing Settings, and “Request Verification.” Instagram will then review the request, asking users to “provide your account username, your full name and a copy of your legal or business identification,” information that will not be made available to the public.
The second major change (possibly the more important one) is that Instagram has now opened up to verification requests. A blue verified badge can now be requested through a user’s own profile by tapping the menu icon, heading to Settings, and selecting Request Verification. Instagram will then review the request, asking users to provide an account username, your full name and a copy of your legal identification (information that will not be made available to the public).
🔐 Stronger two-factor authentication
Last but definitely not least, Instagram is introducing support for third-party authenticator apps like Google Authenticator and Authy that provide easier, centralized two-factor authentication (2FA). This move has been anticipated in light of recent threads to user accounts that target text-based 2FA, which is notoriously vulnerable to SIM hacking.
“We’ve been focused on the safety of our platform since the very beginning, and today’s updates build upon our existing tools, such as our spam and abusive content filters and the ability to report or block accounts”
“We know we have more work to do to keep bad actors off Instagram, and we are committed to continuing to build more tools to do just that.”
Mike Krieger, Co-founder and CTO @ Instagram