Instagram collects and analyzes data from all user activities, such as the content produced and shared, most accessed accounts, and searches conducted in the application. Some of this information can even be hidden from other people who use the service, but not from the application. Even the social network offers, in the settings menu, the option to download all the stored account information.
1. Profile information
It may seem obvious, but it’s always good to remember: Instagram has access to the same profile information that your friends view. That is your full name or nickname; business data, in the case of people who disclose their professions; their personal websites, and links from other social networks. So, even if the account is private, the company knows your personal data.
The texts of the biographies can also reveal a lot of information about the user such as hobbies, religion, political ideologies, and other preferences. Also, the profile stores the email address you used to open the account, your phone number, and the gender with which you identify yourself. For those who prefer to be more discreet about the profile, the tip is to delete some personal data or provide as little information as possible.
2. Photos you liked or commented on
The social network also collects and analyzes your information according to the interaction with other users’ accounts. This applies to the photos you have liked and commented on. In other words, Instagram knows who you talk to most, the groups you participate with, the accounts, and the hashtags most accessed. Besides, Instagram keeps a history of all the photos and videos the user has liked. It is valid to remember that to remove an image from Instagram, it is necessary to delete it.
3. Searches you have done
Searches made for names, accounts, and hashtags, as well as sites accessed from the app, are recorded in a search history. In this case, the user can delete it. It is the same logic as deleting browser histories. To do this, just go to “Settings”, then tap “Security” and press “Clear search history”.
4. List of followers and accounts you follow
Another piece of information that is available both to other people and on Instagram is the list of followers and accounts that the user follows. This data is next to the profile photo, on the tabs “Followers” and “Following”. The only way to hide this information for people, in general, is to make the profile private. Still, it will remain visible to your friends.
Instagram also accesses the contact list of mobile phones and tablets, if the user synchronizes the account with the phone contacts. If you prefer not to share this information, just access “Settings”, click “Account” and then press “Contact Synchronization” to deactivate the feature.
5. Messages, photos, and videos shared in the chat
All contents sent via Direct or Threads are also stored on the network unless you delete them. Another important point is that even images not posted or sent leave traces. The network collects camera data from the mobile phone and Instagram and knows, for example, what date and where the photo or video was captured.
Instagram also knows the user’s location and which device the network was accessed. This is possible because the app requests permission to view the phone data. This type of information is also collected when you tag posts where you are. It is worth noting that while location data can be disabled on Android and iPhone smartphones (iOS), applications such as Instagram require this feature to be turned on, even to protect the user from possible account intrusions.
7. Cookie Data
Instagram stores all user’s cookie data with your permission. Generally, they appear in pop-up format asking if you accept the storage. This way Instagram knows all the sites and applications you have visited and logged in with your social network account. The app also knows the preferences of products and ads that the user sees outside the network.