One of the best social media platform to show off your photography and chart your life is Instagram. This is the best place to make your mark. If you feel particularly artistic, you can use a filter to give your memories a sepia hue. Since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012, some have gotten suspicious that Instagram is spying on you, though it is not a malicious social network.
How Is Instagram Spying on You?
1. Instagram Is Spying on You Through Geotagging Locations
Specific locations can cause some problems when uploaded to Instagram. For security and safety measures, EXIF data will be removed by social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter when publishing content. The EXIF data includes the information like the device was used to take the photo, resolution, and the exact time it was taken. Thankfully, there is no way to retrieve this EXIF data once deleted.
But you should know that it doesn’t mean Instagram doesn’t know your location. You can choose to share where you are. Once adding a photo, you ca click on Add Location, search suggestions, then tap Share button. Otherwise you might have given Instagram access to your GPS on your smartphone or tablet.
Always keep in mind that you never signal that you are away from home. Advertising your absence is like a madness.
If this is important for you to be protected against the potential risks of advertising your absence, you should be a bit smarter with what you are tagging. You should be always aware of the message your tags might give strangers.
When using Instagram app, you should be sure that it doesn’t have access to your GPS. For instance, on Android, click General >> Settings >> Location. And on your iPhone, go to Settings >> Privacy >> Location Services.
You need to toggle which apps can see where you are. It is always a good move, so do this anyway.
2. Tracking Your Activity Status
A thing which is undoubtedly worrying is a recent addition to the Instagram app. This is enabled as default. Actually this feature allows your peers to see when you last used Instagram, and if you are using it while they are also online.
In fact, it is not too much concerning and it only applies to the accounts who follow you it means your accepted list of friends.
Instagram is tracking your daily habits and it could allow others to do so. Therefore, it would be troublesome for you again if you advertise your absence.
Imagine this situation as an example. Let’s say you took a photo of yourself queueing for the bus. You then sign into Instagram at a similar time for consecutive days. Add in the fact that you use social networks whenever you are bored; in this case, when you’re waiting for public transport. This is a sign to your followers that you’re out of the house at the same time every day. Worse still if you’re stacking up pictures of yourself on vacation.
Try it for yourself. Check out your messages, and alongside the names of folk you have talked to before, it will tell you when they last logged in. Or if they’re signed in at the same time as you, it will say “Active”.
What can you do about it? Fortunately, now that you know about it, you can turn this off. Just go to Settings and change Show Activity Status to “off”. And warn your followers too. As this is now default, many will no doubt be carrying on as normal.
3. Instagram Is Spying on You by Accessing Your Contacts
It is worth keeping an eye on which apps can search through your contacts.
Many do this non-maliciously, merely as a means of establishing a network of friends. It’s a simple way of finding out which mates have Instagram. But you’re allowing the app to see all the folk whose details you have.
Similarly, you could link your Instagram account with Facebook — letting the two apps share limited data.
Instagram admits to sharing information with companies that are part of the same group or are signed up as affiliates. This can be used to “provide personalized content and information to you and others, which could include online ads or other forms of marketing.” Its intent isn’t insidious, but you have to question whether you want private data in the hands of another company.
What can you do about it? The option to access your contact list speeds things up, but it’s not essential. The app does it by default, though, so you’ll need to disable this by going on your Profile, then tap on the ellipsis; followed by Contacts. Next, click on the cog and then Disconnect.
You don’t have to sign in with Facebook either. You can simply search for friends. Alternatively, you can do it the old-fashioned way: ask them if they have Instagram accounts!
4. Does It Listen to You?
There wold no shock to see the advertisements that popping up for products you have searched for previously. This is achieved through cookies stored on your devices. You may be surprised if ads start promoting items you have only talked about.
None of this is confirmed but there was worry a little while ago about social media accessing the microphone of your smartphone or tablet and listening in to conversations. People have begun to notice that their discussions are materializing as promotions. Actually, this arises concerns about Instagram, when the app can access your mic by default.
It is noteworthy that Facebook which is the parent company of the Instagram denies this is happening on its platforms. It states that it blocks brands from advertising based on data collected via mic. Indeed,this could all be an odd coincidence.
If you are worried about this issue, you can easily control the devices you probably gave access to your device’s mic when installing. For iPhone users, you should go to the Settings >> Privacy >> Microphone.For Android users there is a greater list of what an app has asked to access by going on Settings >> Apps and then try to find Instagram and switching to the Permissions tab. Now from there, you will be able to control the things it can see.
Instagram is a comparatively private social network. It has access to your camera roll but at least it doesn’t automatically prompt you to add all your images. In fact, it can only see the pictures from the past 24 hours. And even then, your followers can’t see the stuff that remains on your device.
Additionally, you can archive past photos, meaning Instagram acts as a fine photo storage system allowing you to hide anything you don’t want others to view.
There are, of course, other means of spying on Instagram. Tracking software is typically altruistic: Blockers Spy for Instagram lets you see which accounts you’ve followed have reciprocated; Spyzie allows device-wide tracker as a form of parental control. Still, they can be used for nefarious purposes.
Generally, as long as you manage your permissions and take necessary precautions when uploading images, Instagram is a neat place to store and share your photos.
Worried your account might have been compromised? Here’s what to do when your Instagram account has been hacked.