Instagram is asking some users to provide a video selfie showing multiple angles of their face to confirm that they are a real person, according to screenshots posted on Twitter by social media consultant Matt Navarra. The social network has long struggled with bot accounts, which can leave spam messages, harass people or be used to artificially increase the number of likes or followers, and it is possible that Meta (formerly Facebook, Instagram’s parent company) is looking for this feature to help limit the spread of bots on the platform.
According to XDA developers, the company started testing the feature last year, but encountered technical issues. Many users have reported are asked to take a video selfie to verify their existing accounts.
Another author on Twitter, Bettina Makalintal, has posted a screenshot of the help screen for the step where you actually take the video selfie – it repeats that it looks at “all angles of your face” to prove that you are a real person and shows that the confirmation screen is displayed to several people.
It’s unclear if this feature is currently a test or slowly rolling out – I made several attempts to create a sketchy Instagram account and was never presented with the video challenge. Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the feature or its rollout.
The move may surprise some, given Meta’s recent announcement that it would shut down one of its face recognition features. However, as the company has since reiterated, it was only shutting down a specific Facebook feature, not Meta’s use of face recognition as a whole. The message at the bottom of the screen also indicates that the feature will not use face recognition at all and that the video will be deleted after 30 days.
Meta’s promise not to save or post the data may not reassure some users who are already suspicious of Facebook. People may remember the time when a bug allowed attackers to access Instagram users’ supposedly private birthday information (which you will soon have to provide to use the app) with just a DM. Of course, Instagram had not promised to delete the birthday information that it says it will do with the video selfie, but it would be hard to blame people (especially minors or those who want to remain anonymous) for feeling uncomfortable by provide this data.