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How Does Instagram Collect My Information?

by Rachel M.

Instagram, Instagram Data Collection

Everything You Need to Know about Instagram Data Collection 

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media apps in the world. The easy 1-2-3 photo share app is also responsible for certain people becoming Insta stars who make a living from the social media app. After the Facebook data sharing scandal last year, people started wondering what other social media apps collect data about their users and how that data is used. So, if you are on the social media app, and are wondering about the Instagram data collection, now it's the time to learn more about the process.

How it all started

It is no secret that when we use the internet, for whatever reason it may be, we become exposed to other people. Online scams cause Americans to lose millions of dollars every year, and you don't even have to provide your personal information to fall victim to such frauds. With the rise of social media, the danger of online scams has become ever bigger, and if a certain person has the know-how, he/she can easily hack into your personal data.

In March of 2018, we all saw exactly how exposed we are; Facebook – the largest social media website, released a statement that confirmed its Messenger app is keeping text and call logs of users who have Android devices and have opted-in to sharing the information on their contact list.

The reveal made a lot of people wonder who the social media app uses the information it collects and if apps that are related to Facebook also use similar methods. Instagram is now owned by Facebook, so the two are tightly linked.


The Facebook-Instagram connection

In 2012, Instagram announced that Facebook acquired it, making the ladder and even bigger part of the social media world. During the merger process, the two apps shared and consolidated their data collection methods. To protect their users, Facebook and Instagram changed and added privacy policies.  

Well, now that we know how the two websites are connected, it's time to find out how user data is used and shared. Several months after Instagram's acquisition, it released a privacy statement on Jan. 19, 2013 saying that the app's user data is subject to collection. The access is available not only to Instagram but also Facebook, which is Insta's owner.

This means that as soon as people join Instagram or Facebook, their data gets collected. Aside from this method, the statement also read that everyone who wants to run ads on the apps has to make the ads through Facebook's Ad Manager, even if the ad is not supposed to appear on Facebook. As most of you know, ads on Facebook ads gather user information from users' activity and their preferences, so Instagram advertisers will also need to access this data to prepare ads.

The police are, of course, available for viewing, but who takes the time to read the fine prints?: "When you visit we may use cookies and similar technologies like pixels, web beacons, and local storage to collect information about how you use Instagram and provide features to you," the policy states. "We may ask advertisers or other partners to serve ads or services to your devices, which may use cookies or similar technologies placed by us or a third party."

Instagram Data Collection

Instagram Data Collection

So, every time you see an ad on Instagram that is for something you wanted, it's for a good reason. The app collects information from user accounts to check their preferences and also get access to their friends' accounts. Aside from using data, Instagram can also share the data with "businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of, or that become part of that group."

The information you share, willingly or not, is therefore gathered and used by Instagram and apps that are a part of the Facebook family. What information are we talking about? Your likes, posts you've shared, the people you follow, and more. The purpose of this data collection is, what else? For commercial reasons. When businesses have access to what people like, they can target them and run ads for selling services and products. Because Instagram and Facebook are part of the same corporation, the two can share information for one another and use it to run targeted ads. When this method was discovered, the two social media websites came under fire and were forced to review and revise their policies. As part of the transformation, Facebook users can choose their privacy settings, which have improved, and choose who can and cannot view certain information.

The site's settings and policies have become much more transparent, and users can remain private while sharing only what they want to share.

Instagram Data Collection

Minimizing Date Collection

If you want to use Facebook and Instagram without having to worry who is viewing your data, you can change the privacy settings on your accounts. First of all, go to "Account Settings" in your Facebook profile. Then, click on "Ads." Once you are in the Ads settings, you can view which information is shared by you and with which apps and companies. Once you are in, change the setting to whatever you want, and you'll be able to see the change every time you use Instagram and Facebook.

Two of the most popular social media apps have been gathering and sharing information about users, which was not received well. As a result of the Facebook privacy policies, people called for a change and to get the privacy they deserve. Thankfully, you can now choose what data you want to share and which data is private with a few clicks on your computer. So, if you don't want to target for ads and other things, simply change your accounts' privacy setting, and take charge of your personal information.


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