Instagram holds a firm standing as the most popular social media application when it comes to visual sharing. However, with the extensive number of users that tend to multiple each day, the data sharing also increases at an abnormally fast. This threatens user privacy and opens door to unwanted security risks just like all other social media platforms.

In this article, we break the privacy protection roadmap into a series of steps for you to stay secure on Instagram.

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication

First and foremost, it is crucial that you add that extra layer of protection to your account by enabling two-factor authentication on Instagram. This significantly reduces any possibility of your account being accessed by unidentified individuals or let alone being hacked.

To activate two-factor authentication,

  • Tap the profile icon on the bottom-right corner of your mobile application.
  • Swipe left and tap the settings icon to reveal more options.
  • Now click on “Security” and then go to “Two-factor authentication”.
  • You can now click on “Get Started” to enable the “Text message” option.

After you have enabled this option, each time you log in to your Instagram account on a new device you will receive a text message with an authentication code. You will then only be able to access the account on entering the code.

  • Make your Account Private

Instagram gives you two account setting modes for your profile; private and public. It is recommended that you set your account privacy settings to a private mode so that only your approved followers view and engage with the content you share, safeguarding your profile from strangers.

To enable the private mode,

  • Tap the profile icon on the bottom-right corner of your mobile application.
  • Swipe left and tap the settings icon to reveal more options.
  • Now click on “Privacy” and then go to “Account Privacy”.
  • You can now activate the “Private Account” option.

When your account is in private mode, new followers can only view your photos and videos after you approve their requests. Similarly, in private mode, your images will not be indexed by Google to Google Images.

  • Avoid Connecting to Third-Party Applications

Several third-party applications, when connected to Instagram, provide additional features. However, these applications drain your data to retrieve information about you. If you have connected your Instagram account with third-party applications, you are unwittingly giving personal information away threatening your online existence.

To revoke connections to third-party applications,

  • Log in to your Instagram account through a web browser.
  • Tap the profile icon at the top right corner and go to “Settings”.
  • You can now revoke access through the “Apps and Websites” options by clicking “Yes”.

Next time you grant access to any such applications, make an informed decision and connect to trusted applications only. This will also prevent suspicious applications from accessing your data.

  • Deactivate or Delete your Instagram Account

Living the fast-paced social media life and keeping track of the happening online trends can be overwhelming at times. Instagram gives its users two options; deactivate or delete Instagram account. The former allows you to temporarily disable your account while keeping your profile enacted and secure. However, the latter refers to deleting your account permanently while removing your existence from Instagram forever; a change irreversible once made!

To deactivate your Instagram account, you just have to log in to your account through a web browser and go to the “Edit Profile” on your profile. You will then find a “temporarily disable my account”. After re-entering your password and answering a question your account will be deactivated within a few hours. Once deactivated, no one will be able to search the account, let alone access your photographs and videos. You can activate the account whenever you want by simply logging in again.

To delete an Instagram account, go to the “Delete My Account” link after logging in to your account from the web browser. After answering a few questions using the drop-down menu, click the “Permanently delete my account” option.

  • Restrict, Report or Block Accounts if needed

To further secure your account on Instagram, you must keep track of inappropriate content and any harassing activity. This will allow you to block and/or report the accounts these activities stem from. Furthermore, Instagram’s new anti-bullying tool namely, “Restrict” is designed to facilitate and support in times of online bullying on the application. This feature allows you to hide comments and posts originating from an account that you feel has been victimizing you. You can manually restrict accounts on Instagram through the security option in the settings menu. Furthermore, it is also discouraged that you accept every random follow request you receive in order to gain followers. If you already have several such strange accounts following you, it is recommended that you block them immediately before your posts are home to inappropriate comments.

  • Disable Activity Status

The activity status feature on Instagram is designed to allow people to see when you are actively using the application i.e. when are you online. You can note this by going into the direct messages and any green dot next to the account indicates that the user is currently online. Once you go offline, this feature also keeps track of how long ago you were active. This is done by mentioning the time lapsed in hours since the last time you were active in the place of the active green dot. This is quite similar to the last seen feature on WhatsApp.

Most people are uncomfortable with sharing their activity status and prefer privacy. So, you can conveniently disable the activity status through the privacy settings option in your profile. Go to “Settings” and then click “Privacy” and toggle off the “Activity Status” option. You can now enjoy your personal space as no one will know when you are online.

While Instagram as a social media application is a fun way to socialize and engage with new people, it is also a disguised host to data security. It is, therefore, your responsibility to always take the necessary steps to prioritize and guard your personal safety against propelling privacy concerns. You should also educate yourself regularly about the recent cybersecurity trends while keeping yourself in alignment with the security requirements of this digital age.

To learn more about how to protect your privacy on Instagram you can check out The Verge.