How to permanently delete your Instagram account

Instagram, the popular social media platform, has been perceived by many as a safer alternative to Facebook or Twitter.

But the picture-perfect network is still part of the Facebook family and is not without privacy and data protection and privacy concerns. It’s no surprise that your likes, hobbies, and activities on the platform are monitored and sold to advertisers. There’s a lot of profit to be made off your data.

Are you’re tired of too many curated pictures, unrealistic beauty standards, and invasive tracking? Instagram might no longer be your cup of tea.

If you’re ready to get Instagram out of the picture, let me teach you how to delete your account.

First off, save your Instagram data

Deciding to quit a social media platform is never an easy feat.

So, before you delete your Instagram account permanently, you might want to keep a copy of your data. You know, for old times’ sake.

Just like Facebook, Instagram gives you the option to save your activity. And you can download your data from a computer or a phone.

From the web version:

  1. Log into your account using a browser.
  2. Click your profile picture on the right side.
  3. Go to ‘Settings’.
  4. Select ‘Privacy and Security. ‘
  5. Scroll down until you reach ‘Data Download.’
  6. Click on ‘Request Download.’
  7. Enter your email address and confirm your Instagram password.
  8. Find the link to download your data in your inbox.

From the Android/iOS app:

  1. Tap your profile picture.
  2. Tap the three lines on the right side.
  3. Go to on ‘Settings’
  4. Tap on ‘Security’ and select ‘Download Data.’
  5. Enter your email address and confirm your Instagram password.
  6. Find the link to download your data in your inbox.

You might have to be a bit patient for this one. Instagram says that it can take up to 48 hours to receive that link in your email. But, after that, you’re ready to delete your account.

Now, you’re ready to take the next big step.

How to permanently delete your Instagram account

Keep in mind that when you delete your Instagram account, your profile, photos, videos, comments, likes, and followers are permanently removed.

What’s more, you won’t be able to register under the same username again, so make sure you’re totally comfortable with your decision to delete your Instagram account.

If that’s what you’re after, here’s what you got to do:

  1. Log into your account using a browser.
  2. Go to the ‘Delete Account’ page.
  3. Choose a reason and confirm this step with your Instagram username and password
  4. Click on ‘Permanently delete my account.’

And that’s it!

Now enjoy your peace of mind as Instagram no longer keeps tabs on you and sells your data to advertisers.

How to deactivate your Instagram account

If you’re not ready to break free from the world of social media, but you still feel overwhelmed, you can still take a break.

Instagram gives you the option to temporarily disable your account.

This won’t delete any content from your account, and all your data will still be accessed by Instagram.

Here are the steps:

  1. Log into your account using a browser.
  2. Go to your account and click on ‘Edit profile.’
  3. Scroll down and click on ‘Temporarily disable my account’ in the bottom right.
  4. Select your reason and enter your password to confirm.
  5. Click on ‘Temporarily disable account.’

To reactivate your Instagram account, you just need to log back in again.

No filter can make data mining pretty

Instagram collects a lot of data, like:

      • Account names and passwords
      • All uploaded photos and videos
      • Data that links users to the photos they took, tagged or liked
      • Text message history
      • Address book contacts
      • Metadata on how people use the Instagram mobile app
      • Transactional data from Facebook products and services
      • Facial recognition data
      • Information about your devices
      • Geolocational data

Based on your profile and data, Instagram can personalize the ads that show up on your feed.

But despite the platform’s promises that no third-party developers can access your data, there have been quite a lot of mishaps in the past.

2012
One of the first things that changed after joining Facebook was IG’s privacy policy. The company started collecting all sorts of data. “You agree that a business may pay Instagram to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions without any compensation to you.” That sentence caused an uproar back in the day.
2015
The press revealed that Instagram automatically geotagged photos, even if the user didn’t use the ‘Add to Photo Map’ option.
2017
A bug allowed hackers to access email addresses and phone numbers of unsuspecting Instagram users. You might remember this one because high-profile users were targeted. For example, hackers posted uhm… unflattering pictures of Justin Bieber using Selena’s Gomez account.
2019
An ad partner of Instagram’s, HYP3R, made the news for scrapping profile info from millions of users. Details like their locations, stories, photos, and bios, were used to create a database of user profiles.
2019
49 million Instagram users had their data exposed by a marketing agency who left an unprotected database on an Amazon Web Services server for about 3 days.
2019
After Instagram removed the ‘Following’, apps similar to Like Patrol started scrapping public profiles for data, even though that was a violation of Instagram’s policies and guidelines. Apple removed Like Patrol from the App Store a few weeks later.
2020
Social Captain, a social media boosting startup, stored Instagram passwords in plain text. And because they had a bug on their website, plugging in a user’s unique account ID granted you access to their Social Captain account and their Instagram login credentials.
2020
Instagram plans to ask for IDs to fight Russian bots and troll accounts. Users will upload a photo of a government-issued ID and then take a selfie video. These are then supposed to be validated by humans.

This doesn’t look good at all.

If you care about your data, you should consider how much of a risk Instagram poses to your privacy.

Taking away the likes

There’s no doubt that Instagram is one of the most aesthetically pleasing social media platforms out there. But behind the pretty pictures and eye-catching Boomerangs, its tracking capabilities are a force to be reckoned with.

If you’re worried about losing touch with your friends, you might want to convince them to switch to a more privacy-friendly messaging app.

In the end, it’s always advisable to use a VPN provider to protect your digital privacy and keep snoopers at bay. Get that extra layer of security and encrypt your connection.

 

So, are you ready to #DeleteInstagram? Or did you already take the plunge? 😉

Let me know in the comments below.

 

Until next time, stay safe and secure!

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