Instagram is growing quickly—and with the second most popular social media network in the world (behind just Facebook), the photo-sharing network absolutely dominates when it comes to user interactions.
And with great success comes great responsibility—responsibility to keep users’ accounts safe, responsibility to fight fake accounts and news, and responsibility of being transparent.
You might know that the Facebook-owned photo-sharing network has recently been a victim of a widespread hacking campaign that has affected thousands of Instagram users, leaving them locked out of their accounts.
In the wake of the security mishappening, Instagram has announced a trio of security updates intended to discourage trolls, stop misinformation, and make the platform a little safer for its one billion users.
In an official blog post, titled “New Tools to Keep Instagram Safe,” published by Instagram Co-Founder & CTO Mike Krieger on August 28, the company announced three features—support for Third-Party Two Factor Authenticator Apps, About This Account, and Request Verification.
Support for Third-Party Two-Factor Authentication Apps
To increase safety and secure logins to the app, Instagram adds support for third-party two-factor authentication (2FA) apps like Duo Mobile and Google Authenticator instead of traditional text-based 2FA.
Until now, Instagram relies on text-based two-factor authentication which is believed to be less secure because it is possible for attackers to hijack your phone number and therefore, SMSes, eventually allowing them to gain access to your accounts secured using text-based 2FA.
Users are strongly recommended to enable two-factor authentication on their apps to protect their account from hackers since the feature adds an extra step of entering a random passcode sent to an approved device when you log in to your account.
To enable this feature, head on to “Settings,” scroll down to select “Two-Factor Authentication,” and then select “Authentication App” as your preferred form of authentication.
“If you already have an authentication app installed, we will automatically find the app and send a login code to it. Go to the app, retrieve the code and enter it on Instagram, and two-factor authentication will turn on automatically,” the company says.
“If you don’t have one installed yet, we will send you to the App Store or Google Play Store to download the authenticator app of your choice. Once you’ve installed it, return to Instagram to continue setting up your two-factor authentication.”
Support for different third-party authenticator apps has started to roll out and will be widely available in the “coming weeks.”
Instagram “About This Account” Feature
This feature will allow Instagram users to see details for users with large followers, including when they joined the platform, where they are located, the ads they are running, any username changes in the last year, and their social connections, in order to determine the authenticity of a given account.
“Our community has told us that it’s important to them to have a deeper understanding of accounts that reach many people on Instagram, particularly when those accounts are sharing information related to current events, political or social causes,” Instagram writes.
The “About This Account” is available through the menu button, and starting from September, the feature will only be available to users with larger followers, while Instagram will release it globally later on.
Apply to Get Your Instagram Account Verified
Besides “About This Account,” Instagram has also rolled out a feature that allows users to request the blue verified badge in its efforts towards transparency for large public accounts, helping users to know they interacting with a notable public figure, celebrity, global brand or entity.
To get verified, your Instagram account must comply with its Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. If your account meets the criteria, you can apply for verification directly through the app.
However, “Submitting a request for verification does not guarantee that your account will be verified,” Instagram writes.
To apply for verification, head on to “Settings,” select “Request Verification” under the Account section, then type your full name, attach a copy of a legal business identification or a government-issued photo ID that shows your full name and date of birth, and hit “Send.”
The request will then be reviewed by Instagram to confirm the authenticity, uniqueness, completeness, and notability of the account, after which you will receive a notification confirming or declining the request.
For more information about the process and eligibility for account verification, you can visit the Instagram Help Center.