Instagram follows Twitter and will require popular users to verify their identities

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Facebook’s ongoing battle against bad actors has largely been waged on its primary social media platform, but now the company has announced a few safety features that will soon land on its image- and video-oriented service, Instagram.

The announcement reveals three new strategies to tackle fake accounts and identity theft, which includes new ways to verify a popular account’s veracity, and an improved two-factor authentication procedure.

Guess who?

On pages for users “that reach large audiences”, viewers will start seeing an “about this account” section containing an extended pool of information that helps to verify the legitimacy of the user.

According to Instagram’s announcement, this will include information such as “the date the account joined Instagram, the country where the account is located, accounts with shared followers, any username changes in the last year and any ads the account is currently running”.

[Image courtesy of Instagram]

[Image courtesy of Instagram]

While Instagram already has a blue-tick verification badge system similar to that of Twitter’s, it will now resemble the microblogging site's system more closely by offering a more direct request form in the ‘settings’ tab.

Users will need to provide a username, their full name, and proof of identity, and they “must comply with Instagram’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines” in order to be verified.

[Image courtesy of Instagram]

[Image courtesy of Instagram]

Naturally, applying for the verification won’t guarantee you’ll get it. Each submission will be reviewed “to confirm its authenticity, uniqueness, completeness and notability”. Users will receive a notification letting them know it’s been confirmed or denied on these grounds.

Two factors are better than one

Instagram has supported two-factor authentication via text messaging for quite some time, but the platform is soon opening the extra layer of security up to third-party authenticator apps.

[Image courtesy of Instagram]

[Image courtesy of Instagram]

Again, this feature will be found under the ‘settings’ tab and allows you to use apps such as LastPass or Dashlane to verify your password, which is arguably a safer bet than using your mobile number.

While we haven’t been given an explicit availability date on these features, the announcement mentions they have already begun rolling out and will be available to all users in the coming weeks.