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6 Proven Steps to Stay Safe on Instagram

With over 1 billion monthly users and around 100 million photos and videos posted every day, Instagram is one of the most widely accessed social media platforms across the planet. However, together with its popularity, it has also drawn attention for various security and safety threats that could potentially make its users vulnerable.

Last year, a data breach on the popular social media platform compromised data of more than 49 million users. This exposed profile photos, phone numbers, locations, and email addresses among other personal information. And phishing attacks aiming Instagram users have also taken the media by storm, as scammers attempt to hijack Instagram accounts using click baits.

Clearly, the potential risks and dangers of the social media platform are undeniable and quite concerning. This is why proactively protecting yourself and safeguarding your data with prudent actions have become essential. So, here are 6 proven steps you must take today to remain safe on Instagram without compromising your personal data.

1. Setting up secure passwords

The password you set for your Instagram account could play an important role in determining its safety. Therefore, familiarize yourself with password best practices such as using a combination of at least 8 special characters, letters, and numbers. And avoid including easily guessable information such as your birthday or your house number.

Instagram also provides two-factor authentication where you can choose to receive a security code via a text message or an authentication app. This provides an added layer of security in the event your password is compromised. You can also check for any unauthorized access to your account by reviewing login details under the Privacy and Security option. And if you notice any unusual or suspicious login activities in your account, you can report and deactivate it. Alternatively, you can delete Instagram account data as a more secure solution.

2. Account privacy

Ensuring account privacy is another essential step to protect your data. Instagram could collect personal details such as your full name, email, phone number, date of birth, and location, which could compromise your safety if misused. Therefore, minimize the information you provide during the signup process by, for instance, setting up a new email address just for Instagram and refraining from disclosing your last name.

You can also make your account private, where users would need to get your consent before following you or seeing what you share. While this will not prevent your existing followers from viewing your content, it can still allow you to keep your data private and hidden from others.

The Activity Status feature is another useful tool Instagram offers. This allows you to prevent others from seeing when you are online. While this also means that you won’t be able to know when others are active online, it’s still a very useful feature to protect your privacy from unwanted intrusions.

3. Safe sharing

How and what you share can seriously compromise your safety and security. Therefore, thinking twice before you share photos and videos on
Instagram is important. Avoid sharing content that could disclose personal information such as your home location, workplace, and places where you frequently spend time. Also, avoid geotagging your content.

Instagram offers several useful features for the safe sharing of content on its platform. For instance, you can choose to hide stories from selected followers and decide whether to allow users to add your content to their stories or reshare your photos and videos. Since
Instagram is owned by Facebook, it could often encourage you to link your activities between the 2 social media platforms. However, if you want to maintain the privacy of your data, avoid linking the 2 accounts and deactivate the feature that allows your stories to be automatically shared on Facebook.

Making your account private can also help protect the content you share by preventing those who are not within your immediate network from viewing them. Moreover, you can avoid saving content to your phone’s Gallery or Instagram’s archives to prevent a possible data loss from a hacking attempt.

4. Select your followers

For added personal safety, only allow your close family and friends to follow you. Instagram allows you to block or remove followers discreetly to prevent them from seeing your shared content or profile. You can also prevent Instagram from recommending your profile to others.

Avoid engaging with users who post images, videos, or comments that are disrespectful, racist, lewd or offensive. In instances such as these, you can report or restrict users. There are also features to block comments from selected followers and to set filters to hide offensive comments.

5. Avoid third-party data sharing

Many people are in the habit of linking third-party apps to their Instagram account so they can enjoy added features. These can include photo editing apps like Snapseed and Canva, post scheduling apps such as Hootsuite and Buffer, as well as data analytics apps like Hootsuite Analytics and Command. Third-parties gaining access to your information and content could be quite risky and could expose you to countless dangers. This is because it can increase the chances of your personal information circulating and exchanging hands.

Therefore, avoid linking third-party apps and deactivate features that allow Instagram to share your profile and activity data with others.

6. Protect your devices

Leaving your devices unprotected could compromise your safety and privacy on Instagram. Therefore, take necessary precautions to set up strong passwords for your devices and log off after using your Instagram account. Avoid using public Wi-Fi and switch to a personal hotspot or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) instead.

Protect your devices with a reputed anti-virus guard software and disable location tracking. Also avoid leaving a data trail by clearing your browser’s history data and follow email safety best practices at all times. For instance, avoid clicking on any Instagram account verification emails, which could expose you to a phishing attack. So, ensure that you follow standard email safety protocols.

These essential measures will help you safeguard your data and avoid any possible malicious attempts that could threaten your safety. Therefore, apply them today to protect yourself from the risks and dangers of Instagram.