Important Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy and Security on Instagram
People are spending more time online, and many have shifted their social media time from Facebook to Instagram. So protecting your privacy and online security on the site or app is an important consideration. Instagram is a frequent target of scammers or other criminals, who may use a person’s photos to determine things like their current location or where they live. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your online and offline privacy and security.
Figure Out How You Want to Use Your Account
On Instagram, you can change settings of your account to be either Public or Private. You’ll need to decide how you plan to use your account first. Some people are interested in being influencers, get fast Instagram likes and building a large number of followers on the site. If this is your goal, you’ll need a public profile. Some influencers spend time and money growing their followers—for example, they may decide to buy 25 Instagram likes—but find their popularity becomes a problem if they don’t secure their account.
Tips for Influencers
You may want to get cheap Instagram likes, views and engage with your photos, but you probably don’t want them showing up at your front door. Here are some ways you can maintain a popular profile while still protecting your data and location privacy and online security:
● Be Careful with What and When You Post to Get Instagram Likes
Consider the backgrounds of the photos you post. Do they identify where you live? Sometimes people may post a picture with a caption like, “Me and Mikey, just goofing off on the way home!” Street names or house numbers may be visible in the background. A motivated criminal may be able to figure out the general area where you live (especially if your profile description says something about the city you live in, narrowing it down for them).
● Edit Photos for Personal Details
If you want to use a photo but realize it reveals personal info, remember that photo editing software is your friend. You can crop pictures right from the Instagram app. The blurring of addresses or other info in the background using various kinds of software is also an option.
● Think About Other Ways a Photo and Caption Reveal Information
Sometimes, it’s not a specific part of the picture that causes a problem, but what can be extrapolated from it. For example, if you post a picture or video “Live from Thailand,” and your profile says you’re a “Bay Area-Based Travel Blogger,” everyone on Instagram now knows you’re not home. If they’re able to track down your real name, everyday habits, relatives and your address won’t be far behind.
There are other possible scenarios. If you post that you’re currently at the downtown mall, a local person with an ax to grind could track you down, for example.
● You Don’t Have to Post Every Photo Instantly
Although live events are popular and gain views, likes and followers, it’s recommended that you post-trip videos and pictures after returning home. Caption them with something like, “Photo album from my recent trip to Thailand,” so people know you are back home and your house isn’t conveniently empty for burglars.
If you’re using Instagram for likes or to promote a live event and therefore want people to see it as it’s happening, make sure the event has adequate security beforehand. Ask someone from security to walk with you to your car when you leave to avoid potential ambushes.
But I Don’t Want to Be an Influencer
Many people just want to use the site and the application to share memories and personal photos with their friends, relatives and family. In this case, you can simply set your account to private. On mobile (how most people use Instagram), you’ll tap the little “person” icon at the bottom right side to access settings of your own profile. Then you’ll swipe left and hit the settings icon to pull up your options. Choose “Privacy and Security,” then select “Account Settings,” then “Private Account” to turn this setting on. It will show as “on” to let you know the change has taken effect. Now, only your already existing followers are allowed to see your photos.
Block Problem Instagram Followers
Whether your account is public or private, sometimes followers can harass or they can even threaten you. Even if they can’t track down your physical location, they can cause you problems with rude or libelous comments, starting flame wars with other followers, etc.
On mobile, you can open the Followers section from the main menu and then start searching for the person you are going to remove. Instagram won’t tell them they’ve been blocked.
What About My Instagram Account Being Hacked?
Hackers are everywhere these days. Turning on important Two-Factor Instagram Account Authentication helps reduce the risk, by sending you a code in a text message when someone logs onto your account from a new device. Select the option for text messages. Hereafter, if you log in from a new device, you’ll need your phone handy to get the texted code. Anyone trying to hack you will also run into this problem, and you’ll be alerted of the security breach.
Think Twice About Instagram Third-Party Applications
In some cases, it may be necessary to allow the app all permission to access your files on Instagram and other apps on your phone, in order to use the third-party app. However, if you decide to delete an app, or that allowing access isn’t necessary to use the functionalities you want from the app, you can revoke access.
Again, you’ll go to the icon of a person, after that tap the gearwheel icon, and you’ll select “Authorized Apps.” This gives you names of all applications that have received permission from you to access your personal info, buy Instagram likes, and followers. Find the app you’d like to remove from Instagram access, then select “Revoke Access” followed by “Yes,” when it asks if you’re sure you want to do that.
Be Careful With Photos of Kids
This is especially true if you have a public account. If you’re going to publicly share pictures of your kids, even if they get many likes on Instagram, be very certain that you don’t give away locations that might allow a kidnapper to track them down. You may not want to use their real name, either, instead of giving them a nickname like, “Spawn,” or “Supergirl,” so a stranger won’t know their name. You may want to consider avoiding closeup pictures of their faces as well. Never share pictures of anyone else’s kids without the parent’s permission.