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article imageInstagram finally turns on two-factor authentication

By James Walker     Mar 23, 2017 in Technology
Instagram has announced a series of changes to its app designed to improve security, privacy and safeguarding on its platform. It now blurs sensitive images by default and offers advice on staying safe. Among the new features is two-factor authentication.
Instagram announced the new measures in a blog post today. It said it wants to create a "safer, kinder community" where everyone has an equal voice. To keep people protected, it has decided to start masking images that may contain "offensive or disturbing" content.
The company will use the new system on photos that have been reported by users but do not violate its platform guidelines. In this instance, its human moderation team may still decide the image is "sensitive." A blurred filter will be applied and a warning displayed over the photo in the app's main feed. You'll need to explicitly tap the photo to display its content.
Instagram is pitching the mechanism as a solution to its longstanding community moderation troubles. The company has controversially blocked images in the past, based on its internal interpretation of the word "sensitive." It will now more carefully apply its platform rules and hand users a say over what edge-case content is appropriate for their viewing.
Instagram sensitive content blur and 2FA settings
Instagram sensitive content blur and 2FA settings
Instagram
"Soon you may notice a screen over sensitive photos and videos when you scroll through your feed or visit a profile," said Instagram. "While these posts don’t violate our guidelines, someone in the community has reported them and our review team has confirmed they are sensitive. This change means you are less likely to have surprising or unwanted experiences in the app."
While it sounds good on the surface, the decision hasn’t proved popular with everyone. From Instagram's announcement post, it sounds as though the app will start using the blurred filter on large numbers of potentially divisive images. This may lead to a more censored platform that's ultimately more controversial than it already is.
While the blur doesn't stop you seeing the photo, for many users it may be sufficient to indicate they don't want to see it. In this case, Instagram may as well have removed the shot entirely. There is potential for the system to make Instagram a better place but it will be up to users whether it's a success.
In a less divisive move, Instagram has also turned on two-factor authentication for every user. This significantly enhances account security by requiring a security code to be entered with your password when you're signing in from a new device. Codes are sent to your phone over SMS and backups are available if your phone isn't handy. It can be turned on from Instagram's settings menu.
In its last "fostering kindness" announcement, Instagram has unveiled a new dedicated online safety website that takes you through the basics of self-protection online. It explains how to use Instagram tools such as tagging, blocking and commenting in a positive way and provides links to external support services. You can find the site at instagram-together.com.
More about instagram, Privacy, Cybersecurity, Online safety, authentication
 
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