Is this a first step in the fight back against anonymity on social networks? Some Instagram users have reported being asked to prove their identity in order to log in to the platform. To do so, the social network asked them to make a video selfie. Could this be a way to tackle the many bots invading the platform?
Instagram users can request verification to prove their identity and get the coveted blue check mark - a process that's reserved for the likes of public figures, celebrities and brands. Yet the social network seems to have implemented a new process for authenticating certain accounts. On Twitter, many Instagram users have reported being requested to make a video of themselves to prove their identity and thus access their account.
Social media expert, Matt Navarra shared screenshots of this new test via his Twitter account:
The news may come as a surprise, since the Meta group – which includes Instagram – recently announced the end of facial recognition, if only on Facebook. Indeed, Instagram appears keen to stress that: "This video will never be visible on Instagram and will be deleted within 30 days. This won't use facial recognition or collect biometric data."
In addition to filming themselves from the front, the users concerned have to show themselves from various angles, at the request of Instagram: "We need to see your face at different angles to help us check that you're a real person," reads a screenshot shared on Twitter.
So what's going on? It appears that the platform is trying to tackle the bot accounts that are gathering on Instagram, flooding the platform with comments and direct messages. Again on Twitter, Instagram responded to users, recalling that the first tests of its video selfies launched a year ago: "Instagram doesn't use facial recognition, and we don't use it in video selfies. We introduced video selfies more than a year ago to help confirm that there's a person behind an account, and not a bot."
For the moment, nothing suggests that this process will be deployed to all users. But it could mark the beginning of a new era on social media, where anonymity is increasingly singled out as one of the major problems contributing to harassment on such platforms.
The dating app Tinder has already put in place similar measures for verifying accounts and giving users the famous blue check mark.
One of the ways we use video selfies is when we think an account could be a bot. For example, if the account likes lots of posts or follows a ton of accounts in a matter of seconds, video selfies help us determine if there's a real person behind the account or not. – AFP Relaxnews