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Instagram expands 2FA, account verifications in push to bolster security

The photo sharing platform said it will soon support two-factor authentication apps from third parties.

Instagram is rolling out new account features that aim to bolster user trust and safety on the photo sharing platform. The three-part plan includes the launch of an "About this Account" section to provide more details and context into the authenticity of highly followed accounts; expanding access to blue badge verification through a global application process; and support for two-factor authentication apps from third parties.

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The About this Account feature is designed to give users more information about high-profile accounts with a large audience reach. It will tell users when an account was created, the country in which the account is located, accounts that share followers, a list of that account's username changes over the last year, and any ads that the account is currently running. The owners of these accounts will have a chance to review the information before it becomes publicly available.

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The expanded verification program essentially opens up the blue badge to more users. Instagram said users can access the verification application under the settings tab, and the company will then review the requests "to confirm the authenticity, uniqueness, completeness and notability of each account."

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Finally, Instagram said it will now let users log into their accounts using third-party authenticator apps that provide more robust 2FA capabilities. Instagram and its parent company Facebook are under pressure to strengthen security protocols and user privacy on their platforms. A non-SMS two-factor authentication system that works with security apps like Google Authenticator or Duo is a step that addresses both of those issues.

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"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," said Instagram co-founder and CTO Mike Krieger. "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."

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