Instagram has quickly become a favorite social media site for many of today’s Internet users. The idea of posting a quick snap here or one of your favorite pictures there makes the interface appealing to users of all ages. Luckily, Instagram also provides users with many options for customizing their privacy. Just decide how private you’d like your account to be. Then, it’s easy to get started and make your account secure.
What To Know About Privacy on Instagram
The Instagram app is one of the biggest picture-based social media apps today. Because it relies so heavily on images, Instagram requires that you give permission for your camera and camera roll when you go to post your first picture.
No matter your account settings, remember that your profile and profile picture will be available to anyone who views your account. For your safety, don’t disclose your location or any unique personal information in your biography, like your email address or phone number. Make sure that you are comfortable with your profile picture being seen by everyone; unlike the rest of your Instagram pictures, you can’t control who sees your profile picture.
Unlike Facebook or Snapchat, Instagram doesn’t display any of your personal information unless you display it yourself. The only information that Instagram really needs to set your account up is a username, which can be as vague or as specific as you’d like! Anything else that you include is up to you.
Instagram Hashtags and Privacy
Hashtags are a big part of Instagram culture. If you’re wondering how they work with your personal privacy settings, don’t worry – it’s pretty simple! If you post picture with hashtags to a public account, your picture will show up under that hashtag when other users search the tag. This means that a user with a public account will have to be more cautious if they aren’t a fan of their photo being included for public searching.
However, if your account is private, your picture will not show up under the hashtag. You can still include it in your caption to let your followers know more about your picture. But when viewing the hashtag, your private image will not actually be included.
Keeping Your Information Private
Again, Instagram doesn’t publicize any of your information on its own, so if you never post, nothing will be displayed. However, if you choose to start posting to Instagram, there’s many more ways to protect your privacy and still enjoy the app.
If you want to control who sees your posts:
Instagram takes a broad approach to image privacy. You have two options for your account: public or private. A public account means that anyone can see your pictures on your feed or on an Explore page. This is also Instagram’s default setting when you first create your account.
A private account means that only your followers can see your content. To make the switch to a private account, go to Account Privacy under Privacy Settings. Make sure that the switch for Private Account is on. This will stop Instagram from sharing your posts on the Explore page and give you control over who follows you.
Keep in mind that all of your followers will still be able to see your posts. If there is someone you would like to keep from viewing your content who already follows you, you will need to block them.
To keep your Instagram activity private:
One of Instagram’s newer features is a green activity dot that appears next to a username that is currently online and active on Instagram. For those who have recently been on the app, Instagram reveals how long it has been since the user has been active.
This can be a cool feature to know if you’re online with your friends. But if you’d rather keep your Instagram presence on the down low, go ahead and turn this off in Activity Status under Privacy Settings. You won’t be able to view your friends’ activity statuses anymore once this is off; you have to share your status to see the status of others.
To stop sharing your location when posting a photo:
When you post a photo to Instagram, you have the option to tag it with a GPS location. This shares with followers where the picture was taken and adds it to other photos taken at the same location, like a GPS hashtag. To ensure that Instagram doesn’t have access to your location, you can turn off Instagram’s location permissions from the settings on your phone or device.
If you want to control who sees your Instagram stories:
Instagram has created a Close Friends feature for their Instagram stories. Similar to Snapchat’s private stories, this allows you to post stories that only select users of your choosing can view. However, unlike Snapchat, you can only create one Close Friends list, so choose carefully!
Create your Close Friends list under Privacy Settings. From here, you’ll have the option to post to either your public story or your Close Friends story. This helps give you more control over what you’re sharing. Any private information you’d like to post doesn’t have to be posted to all of your followers.
Instagram Privacy Tips
Instagram offers the same two-factor authentication feature as Snapchat. Enabling this feature will send a code to your phone via text message when you log in to Instagram on a new device. This means your account will have greater protection. You can turn this on under Instagram’s Security settings.
To check in and see if there has been any suspicious activity on your account, go to Login Activity under Security Settings. This will tell you where and when your Instagram account has been accessed. It can also reveal any devices which are currently logged in under your profile.
Finally, if you ever want to delete your account, remember that just deleting the app won't do that for you. You'll have to go in through Instagram's settings to completely disable your account and get rid of it permanently.