Instagram is a much loved social media site that has gained traction as a fun and engaging platform, drawing in over a billion users from across the planet. It’s a great place to share updates, to follow activities of friends, family, and even celebrities and to keep yourself updated on the latest and most trending happenings.
But did you know that your safety and security could be severely compromised through Instagram? There are many ways you could expose yourself to a hacking attack, harassment, extortion, bullying, stalking or even general scams. Criminals could be gathering your personal information for malicious purposes without your knowledge as we speak. They could exploit security vulnerabilities of the platform and walk away with millions of user data in Instagram’s possession.
While the social media giant continuously works towards strengthening its security features to ensure your safety, you also have a responsibility to protect your Instagram privacy. This is why understanding how you are making yourself vulnerable through your social platforms and making a conscious effort to minimize any threats is important to ensure your safety and security. And in this article, we take you through essential steps to protect yourself from the many potential dangers of Instagram.
1. Restrict Access
Preventing or restricting access to your personal data is the easiest way to protect yourself and, therefore, should be the first line of defence. And there are several steps you can take to ensure this with the help of various Instagram features.
- Remove your account. This is the ultimate safety measure you can take to avoid any threats to your personal data by permanently removing access to them. And if you are wondering how to delete Instagram account details, it can be done easily by visiting the Delete Your Account page. However, once deleted, you will not be able to retrieve your data and, therefore, ensure that you think it through before following this step.
- Make your account private. This can prevent anyone outside your closest connections from viewing your activities. You can set it up by selecting the Private Account feature under Settings.
- Restrict access to what you share. There are several options provided by Instagram to restrict how your content is shared. You can determine who can re-share your content, or completely prevent anyone from re-sharing selected posts. Instagram allows you to manage the privacy of your comments, tags, stories, and activity status. For instance, you can prevent others from knowing when you are online, determine who can comment on your posts, add filters to hide offensive comments, and prevent your profile from turning up on Google searches.
- Restrict your followers. You can also restrict access to your activities by carefully selecting who can follow you. Only allow your closest family and friends into your network of connections. If you notice anything suspicious, you can check their account information such as the date joined, location, whether changes are made to account name, and shared followers to identify legitimate accounts.
- Flag inappropriate behavior. Instagram also offers several options in case you encounter any inappropriate behavior from a follower. You can choose to unfollow, block, report or restrict them. The mute option allows you to mute a follower’s posts and stories without unfollowing.
- Remove links to third-party apps. Apps such as Hootsuite and Iconosquare that offer added functionality to your Instagram account could also expose you to a privacy breach. Therefore, refrain from linking apps to your Instagram account as an important step towards data privacy.
- Restrict Instagram from accessing your data. You could also be allowing Instagram to access a large amount of personal information through default settings. These can include access to your other online profiles and contact lists so that Instagram could make friends recommendations. You can remove this access by going into the Settings menu.
2. Control What you Share
Controlling what you disclose is the simplest way to prevent anyone from getting hold of personal, confidential or identifiable information.
Therefore, be cautious about what information you share on Instagram. Avoid disclosing your last name and birthday on your account profile. Instead of your actual name, use a nickname that your closest friends and family are familiar with if possible. You can change this information by going into the Edit Profile feature under Settings.
Also, avoid posting photos and videos that can reveal personal information such as your friends and family, where you live, the workplace, and places that you frequently visit such as a restaurant, park or gym. Avoid check-ins that could reveal your real-time location.
Also practice caution when engaging with others on Instagram, for instance, when liking or commenting.
3. Make use of Instagram’s Security Features
Instagram also provides several useful Security features, which could help protect your Instagram privacy.
Use two-factor authentication with either the text or independent authentication app options for added security. You can check for any unauthorized logins to your account with the Login Activity feature. This will allow you to check for any unidentifiable devices. Remember to change the password if you see any login details you do not recognize. If you have logged into your Instagram account on multiple devices such as your laptop, tablet, and phone, limit yourself to a single device and sign off from the others.
Clearing search history can also be done under the Security feature and regular use of it can help remove any stored search data.
4. Take Extra Precautions
In addition to all these, there are several measures you can take for extra safety. For instance, avoid using public Wi-Fi to log into your Instagram account, which could allow others to spy on your activities.
Use strong passwords and avoid writing them down or sharing them with others. Refrain from saving your Instagram password on your device and use a password manager instead. Also ensure that you always log out after accessing your profile, delete your browser cache from time to time and activate the Do Not Track feature.
With increasing reports of cyber threats and security breaches dominating news media today, taking effective measures with these essential steps will help you safeguard your data and protect yourself from imminent threats.