Facebook’s Instagram Will Soon Require Suspicious Users to Submit Their Government-Issued ID for Verification

The Facebook-owned media-sharing platform, Instagram, is taking some strict measures to further beat bots and trolls that are manipulating its platform. The social media platform announced that it will soon ask suspicious accounts to verify themselves using their government-issued ID if the platform suspect potential inauthentic behavior. The company will disable suspicious accounts if they fail to comply with Instagram’s new policy. Facebook has a similar policy that requires users running popular Facebook Pages to confirm their identities. Back in the year 2018, Facebook started verifying the identity of individuals managing popular Facebook Pages with large audiences.

The company stated in its announcement that if an account declines to provide its government-issued ID, the company may disable that account or down-rank their posts. Instagram’s new policy comes as Facebook and Instagram step up their efforts to combat misleading information ahead of the 2020 United States Presidential Election.

The company has said that the new policy will not impact most Instagram users, however, it will target suspicious users. Instagram explained that this includes users potentially engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, or when the platform notice that the majority of followers of an account are in a different region to their location, or the platform find signs of automation (bot account).

In a blog post, the company wrote that by asking people behind Instagram accounts to verify their identities, Instagram will be able to better understand when some accounts are trying to mislead their followers on the Instagram app. It will help the company to the Instagram community safe, the social media platform added.

The company wrote that it will securely store IDs and delete them within thirty days once the review is completed. It is worth noting that users cannot upload images of their government-issued ID that have been digitally edited to hide information. The company requires users to physically cover any sensitive information on their government-issued ID.

If an Instagram user does not have a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or a passport, they can also provide mail, credit cards, paycheck stubs, or bank statements for verification.

The social media platform has also faced scrutiny for not sanctioning election meddling back in the year 2016. With the new identity verification policy, the company is trying to avoid making the same mistake. Back in the year 2018, the company also announced that Instagram would start cracking down on fake comments and likes generated by third-party applications and bots on the Instagram app. Although the new policy could be a good solution to stop bots, it raises other concerns such as the images of your ID will remain stored for thirty days. Back in 2017, private data of Instagram users were exposed due to a bug.

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