Instagram will start asking suspicious accounts to verify their identity with a government ID
- In its blog post, Instagram says this move is meant to help the company understand when accounts are "attempting to mislead their followers" and keep the Instagram community safe.
- "This includes accounts potentially engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, or when we see the majority of someone's followers are in a different country to their location, or if we find signs of automation, such as bot accounts," the Instagram blog said.
- It's unclear what this policy means for Instagram accounts not associated with a name, or those in which revealing their name could cause harm.
Instagram plans to start asking accounts it deems suspicious to verify their identities using a government-issued ID.
The new policy is intended to target accounts from which Instagram sees "a pattern of potential inauthentic behavior," Instagram said in its announcement. If an account asked to verify its identity declines to do so, Instagram says it may disable the account or "receive reduced distribution" — meaning its posts are down-ranked in followers' feeds.
"This includes accounts potentially engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, or when we see the majority of someone's followers are in a different country to their location, or if we find signs of automation, such as bot accounts," Instagram wrote.
However, it's unclear what this policy means for Instagram accounts not associated with a name, and raises privacy concerns for accounts through which revealing their identity could cause harm — like accounts organizing Black Lives Matter protests, or those using the platform to share sensitive information.
In its blog post, Instagram says this move is meant to help the company understand when accounts are "attempting to mislead their followers," and keep the Instagram community safe.
The list of the types of IDs Instagram accepts reads like the options of items you can bring to get a license at the DMV. If you don't have a government-issued ID, like a passport or a driver's license, Instagram accepts paycheck stubs, mail, bank statements, or credit cards.
Instagram did not respond to Business Insider's request to explain its definition of a "suspicious" account. An Instagram spokesperson said they would provide comment to Business Insider, but did not respond by the time of publication.
The push to verify the identities of accounts comes just months before the 2020 election, amid a push from Instagram's parent company Facebook to combat scrutiny it doesn't do enough to fight misinformation and inauthentic activity. Back in late 2018, Instagram said it would start cracking down on fake and inflated likes, follows, and comments generated by third-party apps and bots on the platform.
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