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Your Instagram friends can now help you regain access to a locked account

Your Instagram friends can now help you regain access to a locked account

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You can now access a locked Instagram account again with a little help from your friends. The social media app is introducing new ways to help users who have been locked out of an account get it back, including asking two of your friends to vouch for you.

Starting today, Instagram users who report a locked account will have the option of having two of their friends verify their identity. If you choose this method, you will be asked to enter an old password, after which you can choose two friends from a predetermined list of close friends that the app can contact. These will be people you interact with the most on the app. Your selected friends will then have 24 hours to verify that you are indeed the owner of the locked account.

When they give you the thumbs up, you’ll be prompted to create a new password to regain access. If for some reason your friends do not respond, you have the chance to choose two more friends from the list to help you. During the retrieval process, Instagram will recommend that you call or text your friends to let them know that the request is genuine and not spam.

Instagram originally announced that it was testing the feature back in February, and is now making it available to users worldwide. Alongside the new method, Instagram is launching a dedicated support site for people to report a range of account issues, including if they’ve been hacked or impersonated, if they’re having trouble with two-factor authentication, and if their account was disabled.

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Instagram will also start warning users if an account impersonating a person or business tries to follow or message them. While verified badges for high-profile users and brands will be displayed on their stories and instant messages to help people ensure they are authentic.

How Facebook accounts are hacked

The new features are part of owner Meta’s enhanced security measures for its suite of apps, including Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp. Meta revealed today that the main way accounts are compromised is through so-called “points of contact”, which include email addresses and phone numbers. It added that people are twice as likely to recover an account if they keep these details up to date.

Both Instagram and Messenger users will also see new warnings to redirect suspicious messages to spam if they are sent by offline users, in case they are engaging in phishing links or malware.

Although most account support issues are automated, Meta is also starting to rely on actual people to help. The company is expanding its live chat account recovery service to 30 countries after previously limiting it to just nine.

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