The CTO and co-founder of Instagram, Mike Krieger, has just announced that the popular photo-sharing social media platform will be launching a range of security features that will mostly target accounts with large numbers of followers.
Instagram users will benefit from the increased visibility into the accounts belonging to public figures and celebrities as the platform prepares to launch an “About This Account” feature that will be accessible through the Profile Menu.
In a blog post, Krieger explained that this new feature will allow Instagram users to access information about the accounts’ nationalities, registration dates, username changes and shared followers.
There will also be detailed information about the ads posted by accounts reaching large masses, and this will mostly serve as a preventative measure against misinformation campaigns.
32 Facebook Accounts Shutdown Due to Misinformation
Earlier this summer, Facebook (which owns Instagram) launched a crackdown on accounts believed to be spreading false information ahead of the November midterm elections in the U.S.
A total of 32 pages and profiles believed to be working together to bring hot-button issues back on the table in a bid to derail the elections were shut down.
Facebook said that though these “bad actor accounts” could not be traced definitively to a source, Russian involvement was highly suspected.
The suspected Russian actors opened accounts across both platforms—Facebook and Instagram—and used their reach to spread propaganda ahead of the upcoming midterms.
Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg spoke about the concentrated efforts to rid the social platforms of such foreign menaces, saying that he had made it his top priority in 2018 to crack down and weed out such presences.
With the midterms creeping closer by the day, the social platform has its work cut out for it even as President Trump downplays the Kremlin’s suspected involvement in a number of U.S. elections.
Misinformation campaigns in the recent past have been traced to two countries: Russia and Iran. The former has previously been linked with election interference before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and it is believed that these actors worked to sway the vote in Trump’s favor.
Instagram Community Demands Better Visibility
Krieger notes in his blog post that the Instagram community will benefit considerably from increased visibility into accounts spreading information pertinent to current events as well as political and social issues.
Users of these accounts will be required to review their account information starting this September, after which the new security features will be rolled out on a global scale.
Krieger adds that accounts that want to be verified must first meet a specific set of criteria before applying for verification through a form that will be available within the app.
The social media platform will grant verification requests based on criteria such as uniqueness, completeness, notability and authenticity.
The verification form will be accessible by going to the Profile Menu and then selecting the Settings option.
Within this menu, there will be a “Request Verification” button through which users can get the verification form.
Anyone seeking verification will have to submit their full legal name, proof of legal or business identity, and the account username.
There will be no fees involved in the verification process, and Instagram reserves the right to deny any applicant account verification.
Users will not be notified when their verification requests are granted, but the verification badge will be present.
Support for Third-Party Authenticator Apps to Be Launched as Well
Instagram will also provide support for third-party authenticator apps for users using such tools to log into their accounts. The feature will be available in the Settings app.
Users will be able to activate the option by selecting “Two-Factor Authentication” then “Authentication App.” Instagram will then send a verification code to a third-party authentication app that is installed in the user’s device. Users will then have to input the code on Instagram to complete the process.
Krieger said that support for third-party authentication apps has already been rolled out to some users and that it should be available for the entire Instagram community in the weeks to come.