Instagram began testing a feature that would remove some of the mystery behind its verification process.
The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network confirmed that it is testing an in-application form that enables “all accounts that are notable and authentic” the opportunity to gain the coveted blue checkmark on their profiles.
The form is currently available to iOS users in the test group, with Android to follow “in the coming weeks.” Users with access must provide their account usernames, their full names and photo identification.
Instagram said a verified badge means that it has confirmed that the account is “the authentic presence of the notable public figure, celebrity, global brand or entity it represents.”
Australia is one of the countries where the new feature is being tested, and Nicci Meek, Instagram’s strategic partner manager for the Asia-Pacific region, told Stuart Marsh of nine.com.au, “Our community asked us for more transparency around this issue, and with today’s announcement, we’re sharing clear details about verification requirements and eligibility criteria.”
In addition to more transparency, the new form is aimed at helping to protect users from scams that promise to secure verification, with Instagram saying in a statement, “We hope this new form will not only give people the opportunity to apply, but also help them better understand the verification process and safeguard them from believing false promises of verification from third parties.”
Kerry Flynn, then with Mashable, reported last September on the black market for Instagram verification, with people paying anywhere from $1,500 to as much as $15,000 to secure the elusive blue checkmark.
Instagram said it will review accounts for “authenticity, uniqueness, completeness and notability,” and accounts must comply with its terms of service and community guidelines, adding that it will never request payment for verification.