Instagram has begun asking its users to provide photo ID verification. The documents must be issued by the country’s government where the user lives. If users do not provide the requested documents, then their accounts will remain locked.
In recent times, many users have reported that their Instagram accounts have been suddenly locked without any reasons. In order to reinstate their accounts, Instagram asked the users to provide government-issued photo IDs, triggering mass-panic as many people believed their accounts were hacked.
Instagram’s new ToS fiasco
As of January 19th, 2013, Instagram introduced a new set of Terms of Service, which were inspired by the ToS of the service’s parent company, Facebook. When the photo sharing website announced new terms, it was revealed that Instagram gained the ability to make use of users’ photos, without paying any fees and without having to explain itself to photo owners.
Following the public outcry of the users, Instagram clarified the situation and said that it was not going to sell the photos to anyone. Anyway, the company CEO announced that the Terms of Service will be changed to meet users’ expectations. Even so, AppStats reported that more than 8 million users left the service, as a result of the ToS mess.
Instagram photo ID verification claims
Since the introduction of the new Instagram ToS, several users have been asked to provide government-issued photo ID verification. Several Facebook users were also asked to turn in their photo IDs, but the situation was different in this case, as Facebook’s ToS clearly specified that users had to provide their real names.
When an Instagram spokerperson was contacted, he said that requesting photo IDs is a “general practice for both Facebook and Instagram.” Such action was required in case a user has violated the Terms of Service, added the spokesperson, who confirmed that the documents were deleted after the issues were solved.
This does not make any sense
Instagram has the right to terminate one’s account without notice, according to the new terms, but there is no mention regarding photo ID verification. Furthermore, the service allows users to provide surnames, nicknames or pseudonyms so there is no need to ask for photo ID. As long as someone is using an account which does not resemble the legal name of a person, why would anyone comply with the photo ID verification request?
Analysts believe that this is not helping Instagram, nor Facebook. Instead of clarifying the current situation and reassuring users of their account safety and privacy, Instagram is doing the opposite. Both companies have refused to provide any other details concerning the photo ID verification policy.