The War on Bots Continues

This week Instagram announced a series of updates to the platform designed to help keep accounts safe.  Mike Krieger, CTO and Co-Founder of the platform, wrote a personal blog post the other day announcing the new changes. In it, he detailed his motivations for the changes:

 “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.”

The fallout from the Cambridge Analytica disaster coupled with the recent high-profile press on the proliferation of social bot activity has the major-player social platforms on edge. Not to mention the scandals like Fyre Fest and more recently Tanacon that have embroiled influencers over the past year. The platforms themselves need to start cleaning up the mess that unregulated laissez-faire social has created.

Here’s a quick overview of the 3 changes coming to Instagram 

About This Account

Soon you’ll be able to access deeper information about Instagram accounts that have very large followings (no official word yet on what the follower threshold will be, but the example screenshot shows an account with 533K followers). This deeper information includes “the date the account joined Instagram, the country where the account is located, accounts with shared followers, any username changes in the last year and any ads the account is currently running.”
The goal is to provide some perspective on the authenticity of these accounts. This new potential visibility of previous usernames makes the task of rebranding gracefully and smoothly even more important. 

Verification Badges

The process for account verification on Instagram used to be v mysterious… But now the platform has implemented a Twitter-style request for verification. We’ve written about How the Hell to Get Verified in the past and we’ve updated that post with the most recent info from Instagram’s announcement.

Hint: it’s still not going to be easy. You’ve got to pull a lot of name cred and show some ID in order to earn that little blue badge… even then you might not make the cut. 

Third-Party Security Support

This one is very interesting. At the same time that Instagram has put its API under serious lockdown, requiring all existing active partners who tap the API for data to reauthorize, they're now announcing integration for third-party apps providing two-factor authentication for additional security on user accounts. Here's how that will work:

If you already have an authentication app installed, we will automatically find the app and send a login code to it. Go to the app, retrieve the code and enter it on Instagram, and two-factor authentication will turn on automatically. If you don’t have one installed yet, we will send you to the App Store or Google Play Store to download the authenticator app of your choice. Once you’ve installed it, return to Instagram to continue setting up your two-factor authentication.

As usual, this news is only good news for content creators operating on the up and up. We’ve been predicting more and more backlash against spammy, bot-driven activity and we’ve been right so far. Keep doing the fun, hard work of creating heartfelt content for people who love you and you’ll be just fine. 

Creative Community Director at Snapfluence. 

There is often a pen stuck in my hair.