Instagram have started asking some users to validate their identity with a photo ID. The move is supposed to be apart of their verified account initiative which was introduced by Instagram’s parent company Facebook, in February last year. Instagram are only asking members of the service that have look to have real names as their username instead of an alias.
A spokesperson for Instagram confirmed that the requests being sent out to users asking them to take a picture of their passport or drivers license or something that identifies them are genuine, and that they are in response to “suspected violations” of Instagram’s terms of service. They say that this is just “general practice for both Facebook and Instagram to request photo IDs for verification purposes depending on what type of violation may have occurred.”
Whats interesting is how Instagram and Facebook didn’t expand on these comments, not making clear what type of “violation” a user could make which would prompt such a personal question to be asked. But a possibility is that they are trying to filter through usernames that could appear to be names of people who have a bigger audience online, in the same way Twitter allow you to report clone accounts which subsequently gets them banned.
However its not the idea that Instagram are asking for this kind of private information thats the problem, its conveying that they do that to users. Although its present in the terms and conditions, making sure users don’t think that its a scam – because most of them don’t take the time out to read the TOS – is something of a concern. After what happened when the companies recent attempts to change the TOS was met with user anger, most of it could have been avoided if Instagram laid out what the changes were about and how they work.
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