Instagram introduced a new in-app feature to help you better control the data you share with third-parties through Instagram.
While this feature might not contribute to your Instagram marketing strategy, it plays a crucial role in protecting your user data and reducing the digital footprint you leave on social media.
Read on to find out why Instagram cares about data control (and why you should too) and how you can use the new feature to protect your third-party data on Instagram!
Instagram Gives Users More Control Over Their Data
Why you should care about your Instagram Data
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you surely have heard about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Long story short: the infamous UK-based consulting agency used data mining, data brokerage and data analysis to create psychographic Facebook ad targeting during the electoral processes.
It was a big deal. Mark Zuckerberg had to testify in front of the Congress and all, and Facebook was fined a record $5 billion fine for data privacy violations (the largest fine ever imposed on any company worldwide).
Facebook publicly apologized for the data breach and, since then, has vowed to take data protection more seriously.
So how could Cambridge Analytica get access to all that data? Through third-party apps.
Thing is, every time you log into or connect a third-party app through Facebook, you share your Facebook data with those apps, and Analytica found a way to obtain that data without Facebook’s (apparent) knowledge.
It works the same way for Instagram, too.
Every time you connect to a third-party app with Instagram, that third-party app automatically gets access to your Instagram data. What the Cambridge Analytica scandal showed us is that this data can be misused quite easily due to users’ lack of control over their own data. In today’s age of data, it becomes crucial to be in control of your data and protect your privacy on social media.
Now that Cambridge Analytica made us aware why data protection is so important, let me delve a little bit deeper into how third-party apps and websites work in connection to your favourite social media networks, like Instagram.
As explained by Instagram itself, third-party apps and websites often provide an option to “Import photos from Instagram” or to “Connect/Link to Instagram”. There are also apps that allow you to easily print your Instagram photos or help you build a website.
After connecting your account to a third-party service, you may grant them access to some of your profile information, like your username, photos, your Instagram bio, etc.
How can you control your Instagram data?
Instagram has made it easier for users to manage all of the third-party services that are connected with their Instagram account.
Simply open your Instagram app, go to Settings → Security → Apps and Websites:
There, you’ll see two categories of your Active and Expired authorized third-party app connections:
If you click on Active, you’ll have a list of all apps and websites you’ve used Instagram to log into and have recently used. These apps can request info you choose to share with them. You can choose to remove any third-party services that you no longer want to stay connected to through Instagram. When you remove that third-party service, it will no longer have access to new data on your account.
On top of that, Instagram will also allow you to ensure that you know exactly what data third-party apps are actually requesting from you. Soon, you should be able to see an updated authorization screen, that lists all the information that the third-party app is requesting to access. There, you’ll have the option to cancel or authorize this access directly from the authorization screen:
What about Facebook?
I’m hearing you ask “But what about Facebook?”, and you’re right.
Facebook’s Single Sign-On services make logging in and creating accounts for apps and services simple. While this feature is ingeniously easy and super user-friendly, by using the Single Sign-On feature, you give the third-party apps access to your Facebook data, like your name, location, and even the full life of all your Facebook friends.
There’s an easy way to reduce the amount of Facebook data you share with those third-party apps.
On your phone, go to Facebook → Menu tab (top right corner) → Settings (bottom):
Then, proceed to Account Settings → Apps and Websites:
If you click on “Logged in with Facebook”, you should be able to see a list of all the apps that you’ve used Facebook to log into. You can choose to remove them by simply clicking on them and then hitting the “Remove” button:
Now, you won’t be able to log into those apps through Facebook, but, then again, the apps won’t have access to your Facebook data either. So it’s really up to you what you choose. What’s important is that you have the power to change that.
If you want to remove unwanted apps en masse, go to Apps, Websites and Games. There, you’ll be prompted to turn off the log-in setting for all apps at once:
You can control all that in the Privacy section! 😉
Instagram’s new data-control feature will be gradually rolling out over the next six months and should ultimately allow people to have more control over the data they share.
Just like society is growing aware of the carbon footprint every time we take the plane, we’re also growing aware of the digital footprint every time we search the web or are active on social media. Now that Instagram and Facebook are making it possible for you to be in better control of your data, I suggest you jump on the opportunity. After all, our own personal digital health score is our own responsibility, too.