With over 1 billion active users worldwide (as of December 2021), image-sharing app Instagram is rising up the rankings, now classed as one of the top four social media platforms on the market. But images may not be the only thing that we’re sharing when we use the Meta-owned app: a recent study by pCloud named Instagram the ‘most invasive’ app, sharing 79% of user’s data (including location, search history, contacts and financial information), with third parties.
But protecting your privacy doesn’t mean shunning the app altogether. The good news is that there are safer ways we can all use Instagram by taking a few simple steps. Our cyber experts are here with their top tips on how to make your experience one that has your privacy and security at the forefront, whether you want to stop Instagram listening to you, restrict who can see your posts, or ensure that other platforms aren’t being given your data.
Prevent Instagram from using your data for targeted ads
By default, Instagram uses data that other advertisers and partners provide to them about how you use their websites: based on this data, the app will target ads to your feed (like showing you an item you recently looked up or purchased). The good news is that you can turn this off. Go to your profile by clicking the icon in the bottom right, and then open the menu in the top right. From here, tap ‘Settings’, go to ‘Ads’ and then go to ‘Data About Your Activity From Partners’. Switch the toggles #Off’ for all the accounts listed.
Unlink from other social media platforms
Ensure that what you share with Instagram doesn’t make it onto Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. On your phone, navigate to ‘Settings’, tap ‘Account’, then tap ‘Linked Accounts’. From here, tap ‘Facebook’, and then tap ‘Unlink Account’ (iPhone) or ‘Unlink’ (Android) and tap ‘Yes, Unlink’ to confirm.
Keep your location private
Don’t want Instagram to know where you are? Protect yourself by restricting your location being shared. Under your phone’s ‘Settings’, tap ‘Privacy’ and then go to ‘Location Services’. Scroll down and tap ‘Instagram’ and select ‘Never or While Using the App’.
Block Spam Comments
Tired of comments on your photos from accounts trying to sell you something? Navigate to ‘Settings’, go to ‘Privacy’, tap on ‘Comments’. Here you can block spammers, and other unfriendly types from commenting on your photos and videos.
Control who can see your stories
If you’re sharing personal things on your Instagram stories, you might want to be more selective about who can see them. Whilst in the app, go to ‘Settings’, then go to ‘Privacy’. Click on ‘Story’ and tap on ‘Close Friends’.
Keen to find out more? Take a look at our Social Media Privacy Guide to learn what safety steps you can take with other platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.