Instagram has announced that its users will soon be able to secure their accounts with third-party authentication apps. The move is part of a three-pronged plan that is intended to bolster user trust and safety on the photo-sharing platform
Prior to the announcement of this much-anticipated change, the photo-sharing platform supported only SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA). Text messages are generally the most common second factor but, due to the vulnerability of SMS to a number of threats, users are better off relying on safer methods, such as a hardware device or an authenticator app.
The security enhancement comes on the heels of a recent wave of Instagram account hacks, some of which reportedly had 2FA enabled, obviously in its SMS-based variety. The photo-sharing platform is owned by Facebook, which itself rolled out support for 2FA apps like Google Authenticator or Duo Mobile in May of 2018.
To set up 2FA on Instagram, you need to go to your profile, open the menu, select “Settings,” and choose “Two-Factor Authentication.”
In addition, the platform is introducing two more enhancements that are designed to make it a safer – and more authentic – place to navigate.
One of them involves a new “About This Account” section that will be added to Instagram accounts with a large audience reach in a bid to help fellow users assess the authenticity of such a high-profile account. The section will display a bunch of information, including the date when the account was created, the country in which it is located, accounts with shared followers, recent username changes, and any ads that it is running.
A related improvement involves expanding access to the “verified” status to far more users than is currently the case. Users with large followings will be able to request the blue “verified” checkmark whereby Instagram will evaluate the account’s “authenticity, uniqueness, completeness and notability”.
“The blue verified badge is an important way for you to know that the account you are interacting with is the authentic presence of a notable public figure, celebrity, global brand or entity,” wrote Mike Krieger, Instagram co-founder and Chief Technology Officer. He also reasserted the company’s commitment to “continuing to build more tools” that “keep bad actors off Instagram”.