How to Be Insta-Safe

Let’s be honest. Everything can feel just a little (or maybe a lot) fake these days when you open up your Instagram feed.

From those annoying little bots that leave fake comments to sketchy services promising more followers, it can be hard to determine what’s real. The good news is that Instagram is starting to take action. This week, we’re going over how Instagram is keeping it real by providing more crucial information to users and verifying more accounts. That way, no one will look at your account and say:

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The first part of Instagram’s fakeness crackdown is filling in some information gaps on user profiles. Open up your Instagram account and click on someone's profile. You know how now you can basically just see a user’s name, picture, and short bio (if they even have one)? That's all we have to go on to verify deep in our hearts that this account is a real person. But all of that is about to change! Rolling out this fall, you’ll be able to find SO MUCH information on a profile, including:

  • Date joined
  • Country where the account is located
  • Accounts with shared followers
  • Username changes in last year
  • Any current ads

The second part of Instagram’s plan is all about those coveted blue checkmarks. You’ve probably seen them on Twitter; the blue verification checkmark means, “Hey, IDs were checked and this company/person is who they say they are." Up until now, verification on Instagram was a seemingly impossible task, so it was easy for accounts to put on their imposter hats and pretend to be people/companies they were not. Think about all those times you may have looked for a brand or celeb and hit a fake account or two before you actually found the one you wanted (or maybe you're still following some accounts that you're not sure about!). No more.

So who qualifies for the blue verification checkmark? Instagram’s new guidelines are a little vague. Basically, Instagram evaluates accounts based on how authentic, unique, complete, and notable they are. Since this is riding that fine line of subjectivity, let’s break this down according to Instagram’s guidelines:

  • Authentic: You have to be a real person, business, or entity. Read: No rando meme accounts.
  • Unique: This is a fancy way of saying only one account can be verified per person/entity. The only exception is language-based accounts. 
  • Complete: Your account must check the boxes of being public, having at least one post, having a bio and profile image, and being free of spammy "add me on other social channels" links. The last one may seem random, but it is probably both to avoid spam AND keep your precious eyes on Instagram
  • Notable: This criteria is by the most open to interpretation, so we’ll take the explanation straight from Instagram’s guidelines: “Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity. We review accounts that are featured in multiple news sources, and we don't consider paid or promotional content as sources for review.” If you’re a big company, you’re probably good to go, but smaller companies may have to apply and see. (Or hire a great PR person and see, and we have great recommendations for you if you need!)

Are you ready to get your blue checkmark on? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Start the process: Go to your Settings. For those of you who may be a little hazy on finding this, go to your profile page, hit the button that looks like three lines in the top right corner (this is also known as a hamburger menu), and “Settings” will be at the bottom of the list. Then find “Request Verification” at the bottom of the “Account” options.
  2. Submit your info: You’ll need to provide your username, full name, and supporting documentation. This means IDs for individuals and official business documents for companies. 
  3. Wait: Instagram will then review your request and determine your blue checkmark fate. If you’re rejected, you can reapply again after 30 days.
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