Privacy, privacy, privacy. When you use social media, like Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, your privacy is at risk by default, and in this case, a VPN won't save you. For instance, the Instagram app tracks your location by default. Even if you disable location services for IG, it still tracks your activity within the app, such as likes, comments, last online activity, and more.
Looking at an influencer's or business's Instagram Insights before GDPR would give you a great idea of how much of your activity is tracked. A virtual private network tunnel cannot solve the problem when one of the two end-points of the tunnel is Instagram itself.
Privacy scandals and Instagram or Facebook have gone hand in hand in the past, such as:
- The exposure of more than 49 million Instagram accounts' information, by Chrtbox, a social media-focused marketing company.
- The harvesting of Facebook users' data by British consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica.
Keep in mind that when browsing Instagram or any other website, using any web browser makes your activity susceptible to tracking using third-party cookies and other advertising software.
Here is where using ad blocking software, your browser's incognito mode, and high-quality VPN providers like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Cyberghost come in handy. If you want to achieve anonymity, use the Tor browser, but you should avoid logging in to Instagram as cookies compromise everything.
Think about it for a second though. Everything you may want nobody to know about your online activity, is already known to some parties.
Considering the tracking record (pun intended) of Instagram and other advertising platforms (because this is what they actually are), you may want to either contact Instagram support for clarifications or answers to your privacy concerns or take more severe action and straight out delete your account.
This guide is here to guide you step by step through your Instagram account deletion.
Deactivating vs Deleting: What You Need to Know
You can both deactivate and permanently delete your Instagram account, depending on your preference. Deactivating your account is temporary, but your account, along with your profile, followers, photos, likes, and comments, will be hidden from other users. You can restore your account state and information by logging back in.
On the other hand, deleting your Instagram account cannot be undone – you cannot restore a deleted account. When you delete your Instagram account, all of your data, including photos, followers, likes, etc., will be deleted once and for all. In the future, if you choose to sign up to Instagram again, you won’t be able to use the same username, nor will anyone else ever(?).
Deactivating an Instagram Account
You can’t deactivate Instagram through the app; it has to be done on a web browser on the Instagram website. If you want to take a break from Instagram, you can deactivate your account by taking these steps:
- On the Instagram website, log in to your account and click on the person icon to go to your profile page.
- Select ‘Edit Profile,’ scroll to the bottom of the page, and click ‘Temporarily disable my account.’
- You will be asked, ‘Why are you disabling your account?’, select a reason from the drop-down menu.
- Re-enter your password and select ‘Temporarily disable account.’
- Your account is now deactivated; it won't be visible to other users until you log in to it once again.
NOTE: As per Instagram’s usage policy, you can only deactivate your Instagram account once a week.
Downloading Your Instagram Data
On the other hand, once you’ve deleted your Instagram account, all of your data is gone for good – you cannot retrieve it. Consequently, you may want to download your Instagram data before you delete your account. This way you won't lose all the photos, videos, etc., that you have posted over time.
To download a copy of your Instagram data, follow the steps below:
- Go to your Instagram profile and select ‘Settings‘ (gear icon).
- Click on the ‘Privacy & Security tab and click ‘Request Download.’
- Enter the email address where you would like to receive a link to your Instagram data, followed by your password.
- Within 48 hours, you should receive an email with a link to your data, titled ‘Your Instagram Data.’ Click ‘Download Data.’
How to delete your Instagram account: Step-by-step guide
Just like deactivating your account, to delete your Instagram account, you need to use the Instagram website. Here are the steps to delete your Instagram account:
- First, you need to go to Instagram's website and log in to your account.
- You can then go to Instagram's “Delete Your Account” page. You need to select the reason for deleting your account from the drop-down menu before proceeding to the actual account deletion.
- The final step requires you to type your account password to authorize your Instagram account deletion.
- By completing this process, you have now successfully deleted your IG account permanently.
- Our privacy is at risk daily, and removing your digital footprint and your social media presence is just one part of the equation. While you can never be entirely sure that you are not under threat, there are many steps you can take to protect your privacy. Stay tuned for more privacy-related guides!