As part of their efforts to keep Instagram safe, the company today has announced the rollout of several new features including support for third-party authenticator apps, a new process to obtain a verified account and the introduction of an 'About This Account' profile section.

Perhaps the most important to most Instagram users is the addition of third-party authenticator support. Now, when you have two-factor authentication enabled on your account, you'll have the option to use a third-party authenticator such as Duo Mobile, Authy and more. This is a much better choice than the text message only option for two-factor authentication. According to Instagram, this will available globally in the coming weeks.

To use a third-party app to log into your Instagram account, go to your profile, tap the menu icon, select "Settings" at the bottom and then choose "Two-Factor Authentication." Select "Authentication App" as your preferred form of authentication. 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.

For larger accounts with a lot of followers, Instagram has opened up their verified account process as well. Soon, you'll be able to apply to have your account verified, and while there's no guarantee it'll be approved, but the process is there and clearly laid out including what terms you must meet.

To access the verification request form, go to your profile, tap the menu icon, select "Settings" at the bottom and then choose "Request Verification." You will need to provide your account username, your full name and a copy of your legal or business identification. This information will not be shared publicly. Submitting a request for verification does not guarantee that your account will be verified. Once your request has been reviewed, you will receive a notification confirming or declining your request in the notifications tab. Instagram will never request payment for verification or reach out to ask you to confirm your verification.

The final feature arriving in the coming weeks is the new 'About This Account' enhancement. Instagram noted in their post that users want to know more about the accounts they interact with on a daily basis and this addition will help in that area by highlighting if an account is 'related to current events, political or social causes, for example'.

In the coming weeks, you will be able to see more information about accounts on Instagram that reach large audiences so you can evaluate the authenticity of the account. To learn more about an account, go to their Profile, tap the … menu and then select "About This Account." There, you will see 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.

That's a nice batch of new features for the app and while i'm only really interested in the third-party authenticator support, I'm sure others will be pleased to see the other additions made fully available.

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