You can now apply to be verified in Instagram

Instagram is letting more people apply for verification starting today, and it’s also rolling out general security improvements.

Accounts that have large audiences can now directly ask for verification through a form, instead of hoping that Instagram will one day grant them the status or by paying on the black market.

To apply, just go to your profile, head to Settings, and tap “request verification.” Then, you’ll need to give Instagram your account name, full name, and legal or business ID. After an unspecified time, Instagram will notify you whether your request has been approved or rejected.

The Facebook-owned company is also looking into improving security for users. Now, third-party authenticator apps like Google Authenticator and DUO Mobile work with Instagram. So you can modify your two-factor authentication in Settings to receive codes through third-party apps, instead of over text message, for a more secure alternative.

To give users more information on accounts with a lot of clout, Instagram is adding an About This Account feature. Instagram accounts with large followings are going to display when they joined the platform, the country they’re located in, any username changes in the past year, and any ads the account runs. In a blog post, Instagram writes, “Our community has told us that it’s important to them to have a deeper understanding of accounts that reach many people on Instagram.”

The information feature comes after Facebook announced additional security measures meant to catch misleading accounts, like checking what country the account is based in. In particular, these measures address the role that Russian fake accounts played during the 2016 election and the Russian and Iranian influence campaigns that have continued to publish political content on social media networks.


Image: Instagram


Image: Instagram

Users with large accounts will be able to review the information in private on their accounts in September and then the feature will open up for public viewing in the following months. Support for third-party authentication apps will become available to everyone in the next few weeks.

Instagram intends for the new update to improve overall security and help people figure out which accounts are authentic. The moves all feel like the Facebook-owned company is attempting to grow up. Even so, Instagram “know[s] we have more work to do to keep bad actors off Instagram,” writes co-founder and CTO Mike Krieger.

Instagram now lets you send private polls through DMs

Starting today, you’ll be able to send polls through direct messages in Instagram. It works the same as adding the poll sticker to your stories, but now, you’ll be presented with the option to send the story to your own selection of users. Everyone in the group chat will be able to view the poll results as they vote in real time. It’s not as groundbreaking of an update as, say, the ability to mute your friends’ posts, but it’s still a useful tool for when you just want to poll a small group of relevant people, like a dinner party or family members.

The poll sticker has been available for Stories since last October, and since then, it has been joined by the Emoji slider and the Questions sticker. Instagram is going full-force to increase engagement between users, even if it means turning the platform into something like ask.fm.

Like many of Instagram’s new features, the update is rolling out now to a select group of users on Android and iOS.