A Defensive Computing Checklist
by Michael Horowitz
Not a big user of Instagram personally, so the recommendations below are from others.
- October 2023: The controls for protecting kids from "sensitive content" sound pretty lame to me. This became a bigger deal with the war in Israel and Gaza. You can only adjust how much sensitive content is suggested by Instagram. This only applies to content you do not follow (think the Explore page). Regardless of this setting, users (kids) will still see sensitive content posted by accounts the child follows. And, the setting does not apply to posts that already have a visibility warning. These start out with blurred visuals, but the user (child) can decide if they want to view it.
The "sensitive content" flag defaults to "Standard".
Change it in the app: profile image -> three horizontal lines at the top right -> Settings and privacy -> Suggested content -> Sensitive content
Change it to "Less". This will also apply to Threads.
Another approach is the Instagram Family Center which lets parents somewhat supervise kids, if the kid agrees to it.
It does not let parents control what their kids see, however.
- October 24, 2023: This Privacy Setting Helps Keep Instagram and Facebook From Tracking You by Katie Teague of CNET. Quoting: "The new Activity Off-Meta Technologies tool, previously known as Off-Facebook Activity, lets you see and control data that apps and websites share with the platforms -- and monitor the kind of information third-party apps can access. With the privacy feature, you can clear the history of apps and websites that have shared your data. You can also disconnect any information Meta has shared from your account."
Mobile app: profile button -> stacked three lines in the top right -> Settings and privacy -> Accounts Center -> Your information and permissions -> Your activity off Meta technologies
Website: Profile -> Edit profile -> Accounts center -> Your information and permissions -> Your activity off Meta technologies
- June 27, 2023: Meta is rolling out new parental control tools for Instagram and Messenger by Ivan Mehta for Techcrunch. The new system pre-emptively blocks unwanted DMs on Messenger and Instagram, and nudges teens to take a periodic break. See it at the Meta Family Center.
- To make your account private: Settings -> Privacy
- The Security Checkup feature walks you through: checking login activity, reviewing profile information, confirming the accounts that share login information and updating account recovery contact information. Go to your Profile -> menu in the upper right corner -> Settings -> Security -> Security Checkup.
- Enable These Instagram Privacy Settings Right Now by Pranay Parab for Lifehacker (August 2022). One suggestion is not to use the Instagram mobile app, but instead access the service from a web browser. This insures that Instagram can not access your photo library, contacts, and other data. As for the apps, the article has many configuration suggestions: don't give it access to your microphone, camera, location, photos or contacts, clear you Instagram browsing history, Clear recent searches, check who can message you, hide your activity status, stop people from using your photos in Remixes and enable two-factor authentication (more below).
- Turn on two-factor authentication: tap on your profile picture -> then on the hamburger menu -> Settings -> Security -> Two-Factor Authentication.
For more see What's two-factor authentication and how does it work on
Instagram? from Instagram (undated).
- To delete your stuff in bulk: go to your Profile, tap the menu in the upper right corner, then "Your activity"
- Parents Quick Guide to Instagram (2 page PDF) from Connect Safely. Last updated October 2021
- INSTAGRAM SCAMS:
- How to Avoid the Worst Instagram Scams by Matt Burgess for Wired (July 2022). Limit who can
send you messages. Be aware that Instagram will never send you direct messages about your account. There are also scams on Instagram Stories. Research accounts to decide if they
can be trusted, stop accounts that do not follow you from messaging you.
- How do I avoid scams on Instagram? from Instagram (undated)
- Thousands lured with blue badges in Instagram phishing attack
by Bill Toulas for Bleeping Computer (September 2022). Instagram does not contact users out of the blue about account verification. The only way to install the blue badge to your handle is to apply for it yourself. Not knowing this, victims can be scammed. Emails started in July 2022 informing victims that Instagram had decided their account was worthy of a blue badge, but of course, users first have to provide their real name, email, phone number and password. Victims enter data on a domain named "teamcorrectionbadges" which is a clue to anyone familiar with Domain Name Rules.
- Scam alert: Instagram 'copyright violation' message by Lauren Merryweather (June 2020). The article points out that Instagram contacts its users by email, not Instagram private messages.
- How to Limit Who Can Contact You on Instagram by David Nield of Wired (April 2022)
- How To Stop Instagram From Tracking Everything You Do by Matt Burgess (June 2020). There is very little you can do. To see the information you have given Instagram: App settings -> Security. But, its just an FYI. Delete contacts at instagram.com/accounts /contact_history. In the Settings tab you can see your ad activity and hide some of the ads. To really control ads on Instagram, you need to go to Facebook.
- Here's how to view, download, and delete your personal information online
by Stan Horaczek (June 2019). Covers Instagram and many other companies.
- How to Use Instagram Privacy Settings by Thomas Germain of Consumer Reports (Nov 2018)
HACKED INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
- Securing your Instagram account with two-factor authentication
- I've lost access to the email account or phone number that I used to create my Instagram account
- Security Tips
- How to Stay Safe on Instagram (Feb. 2022)
- Keeping Instagram Safe and Secure About Security Checkup (July 2021)
- Multiple articles on Privacy Settings & Information
- How to Report Things and How do I report a post or profile on Instagram?
- How Verified Badges work
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