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Instagram asks some users to show ID

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This is an example of the official notice given to Facebook and Instagram users.

Instagram’s new controversial terms of service went into effect on the 19th of January. Shortly after the change, some users started getting a request: Instagram was asking for a copy of government-issued photo IDs.

Facebook started asking for IDs from some users last year but this is the first time they have required IDs from Instagramers since the social media giant purchased the photo-sharing app in April of 2012.

Users will only see the ID request if they have violated some part of Instagram’s terms of service. 

A spokesperson for Instagram and Facebook told Talking Points Memo that the requesting photo IDs is “just general practice… for verification purposes depending on what type of violation may have occurred.” They refused to elaborate on which violations will need verification.

For some, this revelation is just another sign of Instagram’s imminent Facebook-ization. While Facebook has always functioned as an online reflection of one’s real-life identity, Instagram still allows for the use of screen names and therefore provides relative anonymity. Many are wondering if this is the first step toward Instagram using real names instead of cyber pseudonyms.

What do you think? Is this another nail in the Insta-coffin or is identity transparency beneficial for Instagram?

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