A guide to Instagram’s three new account transparency features

29 Aug 2018

Instagram logo. Image: AlexandraPopova/Shutterstock

Instagram unveils three new tools to boost user safety and increase access to information.

Facebook-owned photo-sharing app Instagram has revealed three new features designed to provide more transparency and account security to its users.

The plan includes the launch of a section dubbed About this Account, which will provide more details about accounts with large follower counts.

Access to the blue badge verification process is also on the cards for all users, and Instagram is adding support for two-factor authentication apps from third parties.

Instagram account details

The About this Account feature came about after users told Instagram they would like to have a deeper understanding of accounts with wide reach, particularly when the accounts post content relating to social causes, politics and current events. In September, people with large audiences can review the data about their accounts that will be then made public. Then, the tool will be available to the entire user community.

Data available on this page includes how long an account has been active and what location it is in.

Verification opens up

The expanded verification process essentially allows more users to apply for a blue badge. Users can access the verification application under the settings menu. Instagram will then review the requests to confirm the “authenticity, uniqueness, completeness and notability of each account”.

Verification is not guaranteed, as accounts that need to prove they are “the authentic presence of a notable public figure, celebrity, global brand or entity” take precedence over general users. While it is not exactly global verification, it might make verifying a business account that bit simpler.

Safety first

Multifactor authentication is a must for any security-savvy user and many people will be happy to see Instagram is allowing users to log into their accounts using third-party authenticator apps that provide serious security capabilities.

Using a multifactor authentication method that doesn’t rely on SMS will provide a better security infrastructure. Users can find this option under the two-factor authentication section in their account settings.

Chief technology officer (CTO) of Instagram, Mike Krieger, said: “As the CTO of Instagram, keeping people with bad intentions off our platform is incredibly important to me. That means trying to make sure the people you follow and the accounts you interact with are who they say they are, and stopping bad actors before they cause harm.”

Instagram logo. Image: AlexandraPopova/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects