Instagram’s new safety features include verified badges, 2FA apps

Eric Abent - Aug 28, 2018, 2:41pm CDT
Instagram’s new safety features include verified badges, 2FA apps

With one billion users around the world, safety and security should obviously top the list of Instagram’s concerns. Today, the company announced another round of new initiatives to make Instagram a safer platform to use. The three-pronged approach mostly revolves around Instagram accounts with a large following, but there’s also incoming updates to two-factor authentication that everyone will be able to take advantage of.

Over on the Instagram Info Center, co-founder and CTO Mike Krieger explains these new features. The first new feature is called “About This Account,” and it’ll surface more information about accounts with a lot of followers. Once it’s live, you’ll be able to go a popular profile, enter the more menu by tapping on the three horizontal dots in the upper right corner, and then select “About This Account” to see some in-depth information about it.

The About This Account page will show information such as when that user joined Instagram, the country they’re from, and any other usernames they’ve used within the past year. You’ll also see a list of other accounts it shares followers with, along with any of the ads they’re currently running. The goal, Instagram says, is to protect big accounts from impersonation and cut back on spam in general.

Those popular accounts will soon be able to take advantage of a new global verification form to request a blue checkmark as well. While this doesn’t affect most average users, it should make it easier for popular users, celebrities, and brands to verify their identity with Instagram and add the verification checkmark to their account. This, in turn, lets other users know that they’re interacting with legitimate users instead of impersonators.

Finally, Krieger says that all users will soon be able to use third-party authentication apps to secure their accounts. Two-factor authentication, of course, is better than simply securing your account with a password, and in some cases, 2FA apps can provide more security than SMS authentication. To set it up, you only need to go to your profile, open the menu, select “Settings,” and then choose “Two-Factor Authentication.”

From there, select “Authentication App” when you’re asked for your preferred 2FA method, and Instagram will automatically scan your device for any authentication apps you already have installed. If, for instance, you already use Google Authenticator for other logins, Instagram will automatically send it a code that you can use to secure your account. If you don’t have a 2FA app installed, you’ll be redirected to the Google Play Store or the App Store to select one.

Instagram says that support for authentication apps is launching now, and it plans to complete the global roll out over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, we should see About This Account appear in Instagram profiles at some point next month.

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