They’re Always Watching: The not-so-private World of Instagram

I didn’t know how annoying pictures of people’s lunches truly could be until I started seeing an influx of perfect sandwich and acai bowl posts on Instagram. This is a time where, with a touch of a screen, I can find out what my friends have eaten for lunch, where they were when they ate it, and even who they were with at the time. This got me thinking, though. If I can easily find all of this information, who else can?


That’s the thing… on Instagram, if your profile is public, anyone can find and view this information! Not only does creepy Eugene from North Dakota know what you ate today, he also knows where you were when you ate it, and the name of your lunch date too. tumblr_o6rde3ty3a1slsalco1_500

Although it is safe to say that many people do protect themselves while online by the use of private profiles, I have noticed that a lot of individuals do not control the privacy settings of their Instagram. In a 2014 study, it was found that only 28% of 21, 239 Instagram users sampled had private accounts. Now, don’t get me wrong, young intelligent communicators, like you and I, most likely have our Instagram profiles on private; however, I’ve noticed that the majority of individuals leave their profiles public.


You must be thinking, why would people leave their profiles public if anyone – even creepy Eugene from North Dakota – could look at them? In my 9-year-old cousin’s eyes, it is because “more people follow [them] and like [their] posts”. But to many, it is because of simple ignorance of the subject. For example, if I told my mom she should change her Instagram to private, she would look at me like I was asking her to program cutting-edge software for NASA.


This, in my opinion, is why it is so important to educate individuals on online safety regarding privacy settings. Not only for my mom who doesn’t know how, but also to my little 9-year-old cousin who doesn’t understand that his online privacy is more important than how many followers he has.

  • Paige Simpson



6 thoughts on “They’re Always Watching: The not-so-private World of Instagram

  1. It’s terrifying to think about just how much information about us is on the internet. I mean, I’m usually very careful about what I put up on the internet, but even my private Facebook and Instagram profiles are only a deterrant for someone who really wants to get to my information. For someone who’s huge on privacy, this is really interesting to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know a couple people who leave their profiles public just so they can generate more likes! After all, having a private account prevents your photos from coming up in hashtag searches. It’s really interesting (or backwards) that some people actually value likes over their privacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great read! I think it’s really important to remember what you’re posting on social media. I’m actually one of those weirdos who doesn’t have her profile tagged as private, but it’s because I participate in an Instagram community, which wouldn’t be possible if non-friends couldn’t view my pictures. That being said, I make sure that I have no pictures of my kids’ faces or any identifying information about myself on my Instagram. But reviewing privacy regularly is very important to make sure that you’re protecting yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s definitely exceptions to the private profile rule, like what you said about the Instagram community that you are involved with. But again, it’s important to be careful about what you share to that audience. I’m glad you’ve taken those precautions and that you continue to tell others to do the same!


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