Tech Drivers
Tech Drivers

Instagram will let people request blue verification check marks in an effort to stop fake news

Key Points
  • Instagram is rolling out more safeguards for users, including letting large accounts request verification.
  • It will also add an "About this Account" feature, which will include more information like user name changes and where the account is located to prevent the spread of misinformation.
  • The company will also let people log in using third-party authenticator apps, like Duo Mobile and Google Authenticator
Instagram’s founders, Kevin Systrom, left, and Mike Krieger, at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., April 24, 2017. Instagram, now with 700 million users, resembles Facebook in 2009 to 2012, when it went from being something people used occasionally to something they use every day.
Christie Hemm Klok | The New York Times

Facebook's Instagram is rolling out new safeguards that it says will protect its users, including allowing people to request a verification stamp to designate official accounts.

"We've been focused on the safety of our platform since the very beginning, and today's updates build upon our existing tools, such as our spam and abusive content filters and the ability to report or block accounts," Instagram's chief technology officer, Mike Krieger, said in a blog post. "We know we have more work to do to keep bad actors off Instagram, and we are committed to continuing to build more tools to do just that."

Starting Tuesday, Instagram accounts with large audiences will be able to ask for a blue check mark to show that their account is official. Instagram did not share how many followers an account needs to qualify, but said users that have the potential to reach large audiences will qualify because they have a greater chance of disseminating misinformation or having imposters mislead people. Some categories eligible for verification include public figures, celebrities and global brands or entities.

Users that meet the requirements will find the "Request Verification" option on their settings in the Instagram app.

The verification system is similar to getting Twitter's famed blue check mark, however Twitter suspended its open verification process in November 2017 and is currently not accepting requests for verification. Twitter's verified accounts typically come from notable people working in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports and business, among other areas.

In addition, Instagram will let people to see more information on accounts with a large number of followers through an "About this Account" feature. People will be able to see when an account joined the platform, where the account is located, accounts with shared followers, changes in the username over the past year and any ads the account is running. Users who will have this feature on their account will be able to review their information in September, after which the information will be available globally.

The company will also allow people to log in using third-party authenticating apps, like Duo Mobile and Google Authenticator. This feature will be available globally in the coming weeks.

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