Instagram: What you need to know

In an earlier post we talked about various apps and the risks associated with them. In these subsequent posts, we will scratch the surface a little bit and dig a little deeper to understand the privacy implications of one app in particular – Instagram. Now, that our very own Big B, Mr. Amitabh Bachhan is going to be an Instagrammer, we need to keep abreast of all the hot gossip without becoming a topic of gossip ourselves.

But first a little about Instagram.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo sharing mobile app that’s available for iOS and Android mobile devices. The app allows you to upload a photo from your mobile device library or take a photo right away and use the app to change the way it looks.



The app then gives you the option to hashtag and upload it to the Instagram community where people all over the world can like and comment on it. You can also simultaneously share the photo to all the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, etc. depending on the ones that you sync to your Instagram account.


What is the basic information required to create an Instagram account?

Your first and last name, username, birthday, gender, bio, email address and phone number.

Who can see your photos?

By default Instagram allows people from all over the world i.e. anyone and everyone to view your profile. Instagram allows you to hashtag (#) your photos, so if you tag your photo as #building, it shows up in any related searches for buildings. If your photo is liked a lot then it can make it to the popular list and every user has the option to follow other Instagram users.  Additionally if you have a location associated with a photo, it will appear on the Photo map.  It will also show up on geolocation tag page.


What happens if you share the photo to other social networks?

The image will be visible on the social network (Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, etc.) and the permalink will be active. This simply means anyone who has the photo’s direct link/URL can access the photo.

What’s more you might just see your photo being thrown up in Google Search. How?

If you use a web viewer to log in to your Instagram account, it authorizes them to access your profile and images.

So basically, if you are not careful enough you can expose a lot about your location, identity, likes and dislikes with this app.

Photos are personal experiences. Instagram is an amazing way to connect with photographers young and old, amateur and professional all over the world. It gives an insight to places and people we have never met or been to. But when one keeps the aesthetics aside, Instagram is just an easy-to-use app that isn’t devoid of spam, unwanted followers and most of all, a very unclear privacy policy. In a subsequent post we will discuss ways in which you can still happily use the app and safeguard your privacy.


Soumya Patnaik

Soumya Patnaik


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  1. Avatar Onil S SonawaniApril 3, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    >> 3 Reasons : You Should Quit Social Media.

    1.It harms your self-esteem.
    A UK study from the fall found that over 50% of social media users evaluated their participation in social networking as having an overall negative effect on their lives.

    2.Your blood pressure will thank you.
    Social media a hotbed of bad behavior – flame wars, bragging, bashing and crimes against grammar, among other misdeeds.

    3.Online is no substitute for offline
    Almost a quarter of Americans say that they’ve missed out on important life moments in their quest to capture and memorialize them for social media.

    • Hi Onil

      What you have mentioned is a case of social networking addiction and extremism. And as with anything that is done beyond moderation it does have its side effects. However, we must also understand that social networks are carefully and thoughtfully designed platforms that allow people to interact, build connections, understand the world around them better. What we do request our readers is caution practiced in using these platforms, understanding the privacy options, settings and adjusting them accordingly.


  2. Thanks Soumya for putting light on Instagram and explaining it in a precise Way.