Instagram are rolling out a few changes this week. Following the recent announcement that the photo sharing app purchased by Facebook for a sweet $1bn in 2012, has reached a milestone of 300m users, the company is also taking steps to protect users from falsified accounts.
Social media networks are subject to fake accounts as part of the black market business of buying followers and are typically used to send out heaps of spam. Celebrities, businesses and magazine editors are mostly targeted.
To tackle the problem, Instagram are introducing verification badges to authenticate real accounts. Top name brands and well-known celebrities will be the first adopters of the insignia.
The company has not announced plans to roll-out the verification system for all users as yet, but given the problem has the potential to become problematic verification badges are expected to be available for everyone.
Some users have already fallen victims to scams such as the infamous lottery winner’s scam earlier this year. Although the money exchanging hands on that occasion was minimal, there is potential for scammers to pose as legitimate businesses offering to sell products.
How to identify fake social media sites
Unfortunately it is easy for spammers and scammers to set up fake accounts and mimic photos, comments and messages. It is understandable how users can easily fall foul of the fraud.
However, it is just as easy to detect fake accounts. Typically they will be following hundreds or thousands of other users but not have many followers themselves. The accounts they follow also have thousands of followers.
An Instagram spokesmen said the company “use a set of systems that work to flag and block suspicious accounts used for spam.” However, users can help Instagram and protect themselves from being impersonated by tagging friends in photos.
If you do find your account has been fraudulently copied, report the indiscretion to Instagram and forward a photo ID of yourself issued by a government agency.
We will keep you posted about Instagram verification badges when they are available for everyone!