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How to Secure Your Instagram Account With Two-Factor Authentication

With social media account hacking becoming increasingly more widespread, users would do well to make sure they're taking every security measure available to them. That goes doubly for frequenters of Facebook-owned Instagram, where account hijacking in particular is a recurring problem. One of the best ways to protect any online account is by using two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA offers hardened security during login attempts by requesting that the user provides an extra piece of information only they would know, such as a randomly generated code from a third-party. Instagram has supported two-factor authentication for some time, but it was tied to a phone number and required users to receive text messages, which has proven to be insecure and left some Instagram users vulnerable to SIM hacking. Last week however, Instagram added non SMS-based two-factor authentication to the app with support for third-party authenticator apps. With 2FA enabled, you'll be the only person who can access your Instagram account from another device, regardless of whether someone learns your password as the result of a hack or a phishing scam, so it's well worth taking the time to enable the feature. This article shows you how. Note that you'll need to download an authenticator app to follow the steps below – we'll be using Google Authenticator, but Authy is another tried and tested option that works equally well. How to Protect Your Instagram Account With 2FA Launch the Instagram app on your iPhone and log in to your account if you aren't already. Tap your profile picture

'Instagram' Articles

Instagram Website Flaw Exposed Users' Phone Numbers and Email Addresses

A security researcher found a flaw in Instagram's website that caused thousands of users' email addresses and phone numbers to be exposed online for several weeks, it was revealed on Thursday. David Stier, a data scientist and business consultant, told CNET the website source code for some Instagram user profiles included the account holder's contact information whenever it loaded in a web browser. Although the contact information was available in Instagram's mobile app if users chose to reveal it in their profile, it was never displayed on the desktop version of the Instagram website, so it's unclear why the details were exposed. The leaked contacts are said to have come from thousands of accounts belonging to private individuals, including minors, as well businesses and brands. Stier alerted Instagram to the problem shortly after discovering it in February, and the photo-focused social platform issued a patch in March. According to Stier, including the details in the source code could have let hackers scrape the data from the website relatively easily and use it to compile a database listing the contact information of thousands of Instagram users. A similar data haul may have already occurred. On Monday it was revealed that a database containing contact information for millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities, and brand accounts had been leaked online. The records included public data pulled from Instagram, such as profile picture, biography, and follower numbers, but also private contact information like phone numbers and email addresses.

Contact Info for Millions of Instagram Influencers, Celebrities, and Brand Accounts Leaked Online

A database that contained contact information for millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities, and brand accounts was recently leaked online, reports TechCrunch. The database, which was hosted by Amazon Web Services and contains more than 49 million records, was accessible without a password or other credentials according to the security researcher who informed TechCrunch about the leak. Records include public data pulled from Instagram, such as profile picture, biography, and follower numbers, but also private contact information like phone numbers and email addresses. Records also calculated the "worth" of each account based on follower count, engagement, reach, likes, and shares. The database was initially uploaded and shared by Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox, a company that pays Instagram influencers to share sponsored content. Though uploaded by Chtrbox, the database includes info from influencers who have never worked with the company.TechCrunch found several high-profile influencers in the exposed database, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers. We contacted several people at random whose information was found in the database and provided them their phone numbers. Two of the people responded and confirmed their email address and phone number found in the database was used to set up their Instagram accounts. Neither had any involvement with Chtrbox, they said.After hearing from TechCrunch, Chtrbox took the database offline, but the company's CEO did not respond to a request for comment on

Instagram to Scrap Standalone 'Direct' Messaging App

Direct for Instagram, the companion direct messaging app for the photo-sharing social media platform, is being killed off by Instagram in the next few weeks. First spotted by social media commentator Matt Navarra, this news was delivered to users of Direct for Instagram via an in-app notification, which informed them that the standalone app is "going away" and that their conversations would be transferred to Instagram proper. In the coming month, we'll no longer be supporting the Direct app. Your conversations will automatically move over to Instagram, so you don't need to do anything. Confirmed: Instagram is killing its standalone Direct Messaging app pic.twitter.com/owt2gXtfCE— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) May 16, 2019 Direct was released in December 2017 as a Snapchat-style app with a camera-first focus, allowing Instagram users to message friends with "fun" photos, videos, and boomerangs. Users who installed Direct had their DM inbox removed from the regular Instagram app to encourage them to use the break-out app for all messaging on the social platform. "We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is a big part of that," the Facebook-owned company said at the time. "To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are beginning to test Direct – a camera-first app that connects seamlessly back to Instagram." Direct was initially rolled out to Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay, but Instagram never gave the app a global release, which is perhaps testament to the fact

Facebook Co-Founder Calls For 'Break Up' of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp

Recently, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren put forward the idea to reverse certain tech mergers to promote healthy competition in the market, particularly including Facebook and Instagram. In an op-ed shared today by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, that topic is revisited (via The New York Times). According to Hughes, the Federal Trade Commission's "biggest mistake" was letting Facebook acquire Instagram and WhatsApp. As the co-founder pointed out, many people left Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but they didn't leave the Facebook ecosystem altogether because of Instagram and WhatsApp, with some people unaware that Facebook owned these social networks. First, Facebook should be separated into multiple companies. The F.T.C., in conjunction with the Justice Department, should enforce antitrust laws by undoing the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions and banning future acquisitions for several years. How would a breakup work? Facebook would have a brief period to spin off the Instagram and WhatsApp businesses, and the three would become distinct companies, most likely publicly traded. Facebook shareholders would initially hold stock in the new companies, although Mark and other executives would probably be required to divest their management shares. In the years since its acqusitions, the founders of both Instagram and WhatsApp have left each company, reportedly due to clashing with Mark Zuckerberg and his management of their apps. Hughes described an informal slogan that became well-known in the Facebook offices in the wake of its launch

Instagram Announces New Camera Design and Create Mode, Tests Hiding Likes in Canada

Instagram today announced the upcoming addition of some new features to the social networking app, including an updated camera design and a new Create Mode, aimed at making it easier to share content without a photo or video. The updated camera design features a wheel with selectable camera modes and effects, along with dedicated sections for live broadcasting and the new Create Mode. Instagram says the new camera update is designed to make adding effects and interactive stickers to content simpler. Instagram plans to roll out the new camera and Create Mode around the world "soon." Instagram is also debuting a new shopping feature for finding items creators are using, and it's adding a new donation sticker that will let users raise money for nonprofit organizations. To use this new feature, open the camera, take or upload a photo, tap the sticker icon and select the donation sticker from the tray. Choose a nonprofit to support and customize your fundraiser using creative tools. Once it's live, swipe up on your story to view the total amount raised. 100% of the money you raise on Instagram goes to the nonprofit you are supporting.Separately, Instagram told TechCrunch that starting later this week, it will be running a test in Canada that removes the total number of likes on photos and video views in the Feed, Permalink pages, and Profile. Instagram says this feature is being tested because it wants followers to "focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get." Only a small percentage of Canadian users will be added to the test.

Instagram Could Hide the Like Count on Photos

Instagram has considered hiding the like count on images uploaded to the social network, which would prevent people from seeing how many people have tapped the "heart" icon on each photo. The feature was found by Jane Manchun Wong, who often hunts down features in testing in Instagram and Twitter. As depicted in an image shown by Wong, the like count on a photo is hidden by default and visible only by the person who posted the photo. "We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets," reads the description of the feature. In a statement to The Verge, however, Instagram says that the feature is not being tested at the current time: "We're not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we're always thinking about. Hiding likes would fundamentally change the way Instagram works, as liking photos and garnering likes is one of the platform's main

Instagram Launches Checkout Feature to Let Users Store Payment Info for Quick Purchases

Instagram today is rolling out a new shopping feature within its iOS and Android apps, allowing users to complete purchases without having to leave Instagram (via The Verge). Before the update, shopping links on Instagram opened up a pop-up web window on the retailer's site, which lacked stored payment information and likely caused many people to close the window. Now, Instagram users will be able to store their payment information in Instagram to use for many purchases on the social network. In return, Instagram is charging all retailers a selling fee, but the amount of the fee wasn't disclosed. Checkout on Instagram is starting with around 20 brands, including Nike, Dior, H&M, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Uniqlo, Warby Parker, and Zara. More brands are said to be coming down the line. Items eligible for the new feature will have a "Checkout on Instagram" button below their post. The first time that users tap this, they will be asked for a name, email, billing information, and shipping address. After the first order, the information is securely stored in Instagram. Instagram hopes that allowing people to complete their purchases inside the app will inspire them to shop more — and to create a big new business for parent company Facebook, which has recently signaled that it expects commerce and payments to represent the future of the company. According to Instagram, payment information stored in the app will only be used on Instagram, and not on Facebook. Instagram will also send notifications about shipment and delivery inside the app,

Mark Zuckerberg Plans to Make Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messaging, and WhatsApp Interoperable

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to integrate three disparate messaging services -- Facebook Messenger, Instagram messaging, and WhatsApp -- into one "underlying messaging infrastructure" (via The New York Times). Facebook Messenger These services will continue to operate as their own standalone apps, but the company's work will make them interoperable with one another. This means that a Facebook user could send an encrypted message to someone who only has a WhatsApp account, and vice versa. The company is still in the early stages of the unification, with plans to be finished by the end of 2019 or early 2020. According to sources familiar with the plans, Zuckerberg's idea is the newest effort to keep people within the Facebook ecosystem, and off of rival texting apps like iMessage. Mr. Zuckerberg has also ordered all of the apps to incorporate end-to-end encryption, the people said, a significant step that protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in the conversation. By stitching the apps’ infrastructure together, Mr. Zuckerberg wants to increase the utility of the social network, keeping its billions of users highly engaged inside its ecosystem. If people turn more regularly to Facebook-owned properties for texting, they may forgo rival messaging services, such as those from Apple and Google, said the people, who declined to be identified because the moves are confidential. In an official statement, Facebook said it's "working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it

Instagram Denies Limiting the Reach of User Posts

Instagram has moved to address rumors that it actively suppresses the reach of user posts on the social network. In a statement posted on its official Twitter account, Instagram said that it has not made any recent changes to the way its feed algorithms work and that "we never hide posts from people you're following - if you keep scrolling, you will see them all." Instagram explained that the order of posts in a feed is determined by the level of user interaction – in other words, like its parent network Facebook, posts on Instagram are organized by potential level of engagement rather than in chronological order. What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc.— Instagram (@instagram) January 22, 2019 We have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you're following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. Again, your feed is personalized to you and evolves over time based on how you use Instagram.✌️— Instagram (@instagram) January 22, 2019 Instagram adopted Facebook's algorithmic feed way back in June 2016. A study by Instagram itself found that before the algorithm was introduced, on average, users missed 70 percent of the posts on their feeds and 50 percent of the posts from their friends. After the algorithm though, Instagram's users see 90 percent of their friends' posts. Given those figures, recent rumors that the

Netflix Debuts New Integration for Sharing Movies and TV Shows in Instagram Stories

Netflix today launched a new Instagram integration that's designed to allow Instagram users to share their favorite movies and TV shows in Stories, reports Variety. The feature can be used by selecting a title of choice within the Netflix app for iOS devices, tapping on the "Share" icon, and then selecting "Instagram Stories" as an option. "We're always on the lookout for ways to make it easier for members to share the Netflix titles they're obsessing about and help them discover something new to watch," said a Netflix spokesperson. "We hope our members enjoy this new feature!"From there, Netflix opens up Instagram with a screen featuring the show's name and artwork, with an option to share it to Stories or send it to close friends. Instagram has been allowing third-party apps to integrate with Stories since May 2018, and other integrations include Spotify and

Instagram Now Lets Users Post to Multiple Accounts Simultaneously

Instagram is rolling out a new feature that allows posting content to multiple accounts at the same time. The social network confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is now rolling out to all users of its iOS app: An Instagram spokesperson confirms this option is becoming available to all iOS users, telling TechCrunch, "We are rolling out this feature to provide a better experience for people who often post to multiple accounts."The ability to select which accounts to simultaneously publish the same post to is being made possible through the use of simple toggles that appear when the New Post option is selected. The new feature is likely to be welcomed by users who have multiple accounts for whatever reason (to separate content, for instance) but it's sure be a hit with marketing companies who manage various social accounts. Whether users will be able to publish Stories to multiple accounts simultaneously is yet to be

Instagram Briefly Tested New Horizontal Feed for Main Posts, Wide Rollout Was an Error

Instagram recently tested a new way for users to browse their feeds, with a feed that scrolled horizontally instead of one that scrolled vertically. This test hit enough users around the world to get "Instagram Update" and "#NewInstagram" trending on Twitter (via The Independent), but Matt Navarra has confirmed that it was just a test that was meant for a "very small" group of individuals. Anyone who saw the update should see their feeds reverted back to vertical scrolling soon. With the update, users had to scroll through traditional Instagram posts in the same way that they browse through Instagram Stories: by tapping the right or left edges of the screen. This completely replaced Instagram's typical vertical list of posts that users would scroll through, which led to many frustrated responses to the update on Twitter. Image via @wordswithsam Well @instagram is ruined pic.twitter.com/xNivrzY0NF— Alexandra Arsene (@lexaarsene) December 27, 2018 Although not meant for a wide-scale rollout, the update was apparently an attempt to mimic the stories format for normal Instagram posts, since stories have quickly grown to become one of the most popular additions to Instagram following the feature's debut in 2016. Instagram Stories are now bigger than Snapchat, which is the app that originally created the idea of 24-hour disappearing stories. Those who got the update saw a brief message: "Introducing a new way to move through posts. Tap through posts, just like you tap through stories." The Independent reported that a massive number of users in the United Kingdom

Latest Instagram Update Breaks Support for iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max Screens

Multiple reports are coming in that Instagram has lost support for iPhone XR and XS Max screen resolutions in the latest update to its iOS app. The issue has been highlighted on Reddit and Twitter after Instagram users updated to the latest version (75.0), which was pushed to the App Store on Wednesday. Instagram v74.0 (left) versus v75.0 (Image via @Wsig) The resulting effect is that the Instagram interface looks as if it's been zoomed in, leading users to complain about blown out images, fuzzy text, abnormal spacing of icons and other graphical elements. The issue isn't turning up for iPhone XS users who have updated the app, presumably because it shares the same resolution as the 2017 iPhone X. Instagram added support for the new iPhone XR and XS Max screen resolutions in October. Now I know for sure it's not just me:@Instagram for iOS just un-optmized for iPhone XS Max (and presumably XR) screen resolutions in their latest (75.0) update.Compared below are my wife's XS Max running 74.0 & my XS Max running 75.0. Notice the story bubble spacing up top: pic.twitter.com/ePqKbYnvUL— Will Sigmon (@WSig) December 18, 2018 This is almost certainly an accident on Instagram's part, so it's likely to be fixed in the next update. iPhone XR and XS Max users who are experiencing the issue are advised to hold tight, and anyone who hasn't updated to v75.0 should probably wait until the next version is released. We've reached out to Instagram to find out when that might be and will update this article if we learn more. (Via Tehnot.com)

Instagram Launches 'Close Friends' List for Sharing Stories

Instagram today announced the launch of a new Stories feature called "Close Friends" that allows you to share stories with a select group of people rather than all your followers. Starting today, you can make a close friends list on Stories and share with just the people you've added. Instagram Stories has become the place to express yourself and share everyday moments, but our community has grown and sometimes what you want to share isn't for everyone. With Close Friends, you have the flexibility to share more personal moments with a smaller group that you choose.The feature works through follower suggestions based on who you interact with most, or via a contact search, from which you can then build the list for sharing Stories with fewer people. You can find the list by going to your Instagram profile and tapping Close Friends in the side menu. When you go to share a Story, a new option appears to share it with only the people on your close friends list. It's worth noting that Close Friends is a private list, so other users can't see it in your profile or request to be added to it, so you can switch up your selection at any time without the risk of retaliatory unfriending. The only indication that your part of someone's Close Friends list is that you'll see a green badge when viewing stories shared to the list. There's also a green ring around the user's profile in the Stories tray. As TechCrunch notes, the feature plays on the idea of "Finstagrams," or fake Instagram accounts that teens sometimes create to share posts to select friends without having to

Instagram to Test Redesigned User Profiles Over the Coming Weeks

Instagram says it is testing new layout designs for user profiles over the next few weeks that will make them easier to use and better at helping people connect with each other on the social network. The company announced the upcoming changes on its official blog, explaining that it would experiment in phases with various profile combinations and listen to user feedback: Over the next several weeks, you may see features re-arranged at the top of your profile including changes to icons, buttons and the way you navigate between tabs, which we hope will make profiles easier and cleaner to use. The photos and videos you've shared on your grid won't change.The images above provided by Instagram demonstrate the types of changes that users can expect to see in their own and other users' outward-facing profiles. For example, profile bios are shown sitting alongside profile pictures, while the Follow and Message buttons are lined up together below them. Interestingly, the screens also show profile designs in which follower counts are less prominent, a move that Twitter also recently made to its iOS app in an effort to prioritize "meaningful" conversation over retweets, follows, and

Instagram Testing Tap-to-Advance Instead of Scrolling Through Posts

Instagram is testing a new way of navigating through posts – by tapping through them, just like users tap through Stories. The new navigation system sees users tapping the sides of the screen instead of scrolling up and down with their finger to advance forwards and backwards between posts, which can get tiring after a while. By eliminating thumb swipe fatigue and ensuring the full post always appears on screen, testing tap-to-advance in Explore could get us spending more time on Instagram https://t.co/l2yIHAHUkC pic.twitter.com/Mr0khQQATH— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) October 11, 2018 It also means users always see media full-screen rather than having to adjust the view with a finger scroll to see the entire post. It's a navigation method that was first used by Snapchat, a platform Instagram isn't shy of taking cues from. Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it is testing tap-to-advance in the Explore tab with a small number of users, who were presented with a pop-up in the app explaining the change. As for whether the system could be adopted for the main feed, a spokesperson for Instagram said that wasn't something it was actively thinking about at the

Instagram Testing Feature That Would Provide Location History to Facebook

Facebook-owned social network Instagram is testing a feature that would allow location data collected by Instagram to be shared with Facebook, reports TechCrunch. A prototype Location History feature being tested within Instagram suggests that Location History data collected when Location Services is turned on in the Instagram app will be used to bolster Facebook's ad targeting. From the setting:Allows Facebook Products, including Instagram and Messenger, to build and use a history of precise locations received through Location Services on your devices.The feature was discovered by a TechCrunch reader who often digs into new functionality that Instagram is testing. Instagram's Location History test option collects GPS coordinates even when the app is not in use and adds them to Facebook's Activity Log, which is explained in a "Learn More" button within the Instagram app: "Location History is a setting that allows Facebook to build a history of precise locations received through Location Services on your device. When Location History is on, Facebook will periodically add your current precise location to your Location History even if you leave the app. You can turn off Location History at any time in your Location Settings on the app. When Location History is turned off, Facebook will stop adding new information to your Location History which you can view in your Location Settings. Facebook may still receive your most recent precise location so that you can, for example, post content that's tagged with your location. Location History helps you explore what's around

Instagram Launches New 'Nametag' Feature for Adding Friends IRL

Instagram today debuted a new feature called "Nametag," which is a customizable identification card that's designed to allow people to easily find your Instagram profile when it's scanned. The Nametag feature makes it simpler for people who you meet in real life to follow you on Instagram. You can set up your Nametag by going to your profile, tapping the hamburger button at the top, and selecting the "Nametag" option. Nametags can be personalized with various colors, emojis, selfies, and stickers. Scanning a Nametag is done within the Instagram app through swiping right into the camera or tapping on the camera and choosing the "Scan a Nametag" option. Nametags can also be shared in text messages and on other social media sites. In addition to Nametags, Instagram is also launching a new School Communities test feature. School Communities is designed to let you connect with other students or recent grades from your university. Connecting to other users is done in a "common space" at several test universities across the United States. Those who are at a test site and choose to join can add a line to their profile listing university, class year, and relevant groups. Everyone who is participating in the Communities feature can see a directory listing of all of the people who have added the same university. The new Nametag feature is rolling out to iOS users starting today. School Communities are in "some US universities" and will be expanded to additional universities in the coming

Instagram Expected to Become 'More Tightly Integrated' With Facebook After Photo App's Founders Leave Company

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have left Facebook, explaining in a statement this week that they are taking some time off to "explore our curiosity and creativity again." According to people familiar with the matter speaking to Bloomberg, Systrom and Krieger are leaving due to growing tensions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom at Instagram In recent months, Zuckerberg is said to have become more involved in the day-to-day work going on at Instagram, and "more reliant on Instagram in planning for Facebook's future." Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, and up until now Systrom and Krieger had been able to keep the photo-sharing app's brand independent from Facebook while using the larger social network's resources to expand. With this year's Cambridge Analytica scandal, it's believed that Zuckerberg and Facebook are now leaning into Instagram's success as Facebook faces ongoing struggles. Facebook has even started talking about Instagram more often in its earning calls, with Zuckerberg recently stating that Instagram grew twice as fast being in the Facebook family as it could have on its own. Internally, Instagram employees said this was "unnecessary and unprovable." Adam Mosseri, who came from Facebook's news feed team to be head of product for Instagram in early 2018, is the most likely successor for Systrom and Krieger. Through all of this, Facebook is predicted to "more tightly integrate" Instagram into the larger company, making Instagram less independent than it is now. Without the founders around,

Instagram Expands Shopping in Stories, Adds Shopping to Explore

Instagram today announced two major updates to the shopping feature in the Instagram app that's designed to allow users to make purchases directly from Instagram. Shopping within Stories, a feature that began rolling out in June, is expanding to businesses across 46 countries. When watching Stories from brands, items that are featured can be tapped so you can learn more about them. Instagram is also adding a new Shopping channel in the Explore section of the Instagram app that's personalized to each individual user. The Shopping channel is located alongside other topic channels, and it will feature brands you follow and brands you might like. The Shopping channel in Explore is rolling out to Instagram users starting today and will expand globally "over the coming weeks." Instagram can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]