As you probably know already, Facebook is Instagram’s parent company. As such, it comes as no surprise that privacy scandals are part of the conversation.
Let’s remember late 2018. Back then, the “Download Your Data” feature in Instagram had a security flaw that leaked a user’s password in plain text – which is a hacker’s ultimate prize, except that no hack was needed here.
This flaw is particularly ironic considering that the feature should supposedly have improved security and kept a user’s privacy and data safer. Moreover, it came into being after the Cambridge Analytica scandal as an attempt to calm users down. Talk about failure.
Once the problem became public knowledge, Instagram moved quickly to assure the world that only a few users were subject to any risk and that the company had already solved the issue anyway. So Instagram corrected this problem, let’s say. Does it mean it’s a safe service for you to use in terms of protecting your privacy? The answer is no. Instagram is a privacy threat to every user for a variety of reasons.
Let’s take one example. Instagram constantly tracks your physical location unless you turn that feature off by hand. No, it doesn’t do this, so your pictures get labelled automatically. However, your location informs the app about the type of advertising it should show you so that they are relevant to where you spend more of your time.
Also, your activity within the Instagram app (likes, comments, shares, interaction with stories, and more) is available to other users. And that’s just a start.
In early 2018, a DM service update came around. Unfortunately, it altered the status notification in a way that got many users upset. Instagram suddenly told users about when other users were active, and the last time they did something on the app or website (similar to WhatsApp).
Of course, this feature could be disabled if you went to the “Privacy and security” section of your account’s settings – which doesn’t change the fact that it was active by default, which was an intrusive and unilateral decision by the Instagram team.
Let’s face it: Social media are not about privacy. They’re all about sharing too much about yourself with the world in a way you can enjoy. So if you’re a social media fan, then chances are that you’re not doing your privacy any favors, and the more accounts you have, the worst risk you are incurring.
If you want to start minding your privacy a little bit more, then you’ll need to pick and choose the social media accounts you want to keep. Yes, protecting your social media privacy and security will require you to consider deleting or deactivating some of your social media accounts. This article will show you how to delete your Instagram account permanently.
Deletion vs. deactivation: This is what you need to know
Both deactivation and deletion are available for Instagram users, depending on what you want. What’s the difference?
The main characteristic of deactivation is that it’s temporary. While your account is deactivated, all of your account’s information (profile, photos, followers, likes, and comments) will remain hidden from other users. Restoring everything to normal is as simple as logging back into Instagram and resuming your regular use.
Deleting your Instagram account, on the other hand, is an exemplary operation – you can’t undo it. Once you delete the account in question, every piece of information associated with it goes away for good – all of your data, photos, followers, likes, and everything else. In addition, the username associated with this deleted account won’t be available for you to use again (nor to anybody else, for that matter).
Instagram account deactivation
If you want to deactivate your account, the first thing you need to know is that you need to log into your account using a web browser directly to the Instagram server. So, no, the app won’t let you perform a deactivation; it’s a strictly web-based operation. So you can start your Instagram vacation by following these steps:
- Once your browser has loaded the Instagram website, log into your account. Next, click on the person icon so that you can reach your profile page.
- Choose the “Edit Profile” and scroll to the page’s bottom, where you will find the “Temporarily disable my account.” Click on it.
- You will need to provide an answer to the question, “Why are you disabling your account?“. Pick your answer from the drop-down menu.
- Re-enter your password and click on “Temporarily disable account” again.
That’s it. Your account is now officially deactivated. It will be as if it never existed until you log back in, at any time of your choosing in the future. Remember that you can’t just disable an account every time you feel like it since Instagram’s policy allows you for one deactivation only per week.
Download your Instagram account’s data
Before you go ahead and delete your Instagram account, remember that you’ll lose all of your data forever. You won’t be able to see it or use it again. Hence you may wish to download all of your Instagram data before you proceed with the deletion. This way, all your photos, videos, and other data will remain available to you, although not online on the website.