There's A Loophole Making Your Private Instagram Account Very Public
As much as we’re completely addicted to social media, most of us are aware nearly every platform has had some issue within the past year when it comes to keeping private matters (and data), well, private within the past few years.
A few days ago, Buzzfeed News discovered it’s actually very easy to access posts from a “private” Facebook or Instagram account.
All you need is basic understanding of HTML and a friend who follows the private account (i.e. has been given access to view the content by the account’s owner.)
According to BuzzFeed News “. . . the hack — which works on Instagram stories as well — requires only a rudimentary understanding of HTML and a browser. It can be done in a handful of clicks. A user simply inspects the images and videos that are being loaded on the page and then pulls out the source URL. This public URL can then be shared with people who are not logged in to Instagram or do not follow that private user.”
This means even if your account is set to private, your content can be shared publicly with anyone who has access to a web browser and the internet.
BuzzFeed News reached out to a Facebook spokesperson and received the following reply: “The behavior described here is the same as taking a screenshot of a friend’s photo on Facebook and Instagram and sharing it with other people . . . It doesn’t give people access to a person’s private account."
Why is This A Problem?
Aside from the breach of trust between user and platform, there are a variety of reasons a user may want to keep their account and content private and why it could be problematic if their content can be access by anyone.
Whether you want to prevent your boss from watching your Instagram Stories or keep safe when sharing your location in your posts, users should be able to place a certain element of trust within the platform to know private posts won’t be publicly available.
That being said, tools that “save” other users content (including Instagram Story content) have existed for years now. It’s even possible to watch someone’s Instagram Stories without getting “caught.”
Will Facebook "Fix" This Loophole?
At the moment, it isn’t clear whether or not the platforms will take measures to ensure private accounts (and content) are kept private.
What’s important for all users to remember (whether you have a private or public account) is that any time you share anything online, there is a possibility it could be viewed by anyone and everyone.
Be mindful of the content you post to your account, be sure to abide by the laws of the land and don’t share anything you wouldn’t want your Mum to see on social media.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.