Swipe, double-tap, swipe. It’s the digital world we’ve all become involved in the captivating reels of Instagram. As our fingers swipe over and over on phone displays, we increasingly share and see more than ever before. But have you ever felt like you’re being watched? Unseen eyes lurking in the shadows, watching everything you do and stalking your Instagram profile? Knowledge is the key to a safer Instagram experience, and it all begins here.
Recognizing the signs of Instagram stalking
Instagram, like most social media platforms, is crammed full of users exploring and engaging with content. However, some individuals adopt a more insistent approach, persistently lurking around your profile. Recognizing these potential scouts is the first step to safeguarding your Instagram experience.
Monitoring Instagram stories: Keep an eye on who views your Stories. As your Story views surpass around 50, those at the top of the list tend to be the most engaged with your account. If unfamiliar names or non-followers consistently view your Stories, it suggests they’re making an effort to visit your profile. To see the list of Story viewers, tap “Activity” at the bottom left of your Story.
Tracking profile interactions: Pay attention to who likes, comments (especially on older posts), or follows you through notifications. Regular interaction from non-followers implies a deliberate interest in your account. Remember, it’s the consistency and persistence of these actions that could signal a profile scout.
Reviewing Instagram followers: Periodically check your followers and remove unrecognized accounts. Instagram conveniently groups non-followers, making it easier to identify them. Removing a follower won’t notify them. They’ll only notice when they check their follower list.
Privacy settings on Instagram
Instagram’s privacy settings are your first line of defence against potential profile stalking. By adjusting these settings, you can control who can interact with your content and even who can view it. Firstly, consider setting your account to private. This means only followers you approve can see your posts. To do this, go to ‘Settings’, then ‘Privacy’, and then toggle on the ‘Private Account’ switch. While this limits your reach, it significantly enhances your privacy.
Additionally, you can control who can comment on your posts or message you. You can limit comments to only followers or people you follow, and similar settings exist for direct messages. You can also block or restrict specific users, preventing them from seeing your profile or interacting with your posts.
Another step to keep your Instagram account safe is to check and clean out your followers regularly. It would be best to consider removing followers with no posts or a strange follower-to-following ratio, as these might be fake or suspicious accounts. You can remove a follower by clicking the three dots next to their name in your follower list. Be careful with follow-up requests, too; always check the person’s profile before accepting, and don’t hesitate to decline or report if something seems off.
Tips to navigate social media safely
While recognizing profile scouts and tweaking privacy settings are necessary steps, there are additional measures you can take to navigate social media safely. These tips extend beyond Instagram and apply to any social media platform you use. Firstly, be mindful of the information you share. Even seemingly harmless details, like your favourite hangout spot, could be used against you. Therefore, limit the personal information in your bio and posts. Also, avoid sharing real-time locations. Instead, post about places or events after you have left.
Secondly, use two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security to your account, making it harder for others to gain unauthorized access. You can activate this in Instagram under ‘Settings’, then ‘Security’, and then ‘Two-Factor Authentication’. And always be wary of phishing attempts. These are fraudulent attempts to steal your login details, often through fake login pages. Always ensure you’re logging into the official Instagram site or app, and never share your password with anyone.
Remember, the goal isn’t to induce paranoia but to promote awareness and responsible social media use. So, as you continue to share, like, and comment on Instagram, keep these tips in mind. After all, when it comes to social media, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.