Image host and meme-site Imgur now requires all new users to share their phone number if they want to create an account. The company says that this so so that it can verify users and help prevent against spam and abuse.
When new users go to create an account on Imgur, they’ll be asked to supply their phone number and wait for a 7-digit code that they’ll need to enter on the site in order to verify their account.
The company says that users’ phone numbers will only be used for verification purposes but that they will keep a copy of the phone numbers on their servers, secured by hashing. Imgur says that numbers won’t be used for any marketing purposes and that they can’t be seen by any Imgur staff.
This new method of tying user accounts to phone numbers, while more controversial in this age of user-concern about privacy and may cause fewer people to bother to sign up for the platform, will curb “abuse that hurts our community and our business,” according to Imgur.
This new move could help to build trust with advertisers, but the impact that it could have on new signups is not yet known.
Imgur confirmed that users that already have an account will not need to provide their phone number and that phone number verification is just for new accounts.
Alternatively, for those that don’t want to provide a phone number, they’ll have to, instead, link their new Imgur account to their Google or Facebook account as an alternative verification.