The great thing about Instagram? You can find out pretty much anything about anyone.
The bad thing about Instagram? You can find out pretty much anything about anyone.
While there’s no doubt that it’s beneficial to have such a plethora of information at our fingertips, when someone is following your every move or looking to discover some particular information it can get a bit uncomfortable.
After all, nobody wants an Instastalker! We thrive on having an active, engaged audience that has the best intentions; we don’t want to deal with someone who is always lurking in the shadows without making himself known.
These types of Instagram stalker profiles use anonymity to consistently view stories, pictures and videos, typically with no response or comment; this is done for two primary reasons:
- To make the IG user uncomfortable
- To gain information without being seen
They are pros at this, so how can you curb Instagram stalkers and protect your account (and sanity)?
We’re going to give you the lowdown on the topic, uncovering 5 key strategies to protect yourself from Instagram stalking activity.
Let’s get going!
Ways to Protect Your Privacy on Instagram
Here we’ll discuss five of the most effective ways to protect your Instagram account and keep those stalkers in check. After all, not all attention is good attention.
If you feel that someone is viewing your profile with suspicious motives, here are some actions you can take.
1. Go Private
The easiest way to have complete control over who sees your Instagram and its content is to maintain a private Instagram account. This means that your account can only be fully accessed by your followers and your content won’t be available for public viewing.
When you have a private Instagram account, users:
- Can only see your content if they follow you (all IG content except your bio and profile pic)
- Must send you a follower request if they want to gain access to your content, which you must approve.
If you are looking to create a large Instagram following and get your content out to a wide range of people, we don’t recommend going private. Your content won’t be seen by any non-followers and also won’t appear in hashtag feeds to anyone who doesn’t follow you.
That said, if you’re looking for true privacy, a private Instagram profile is the best solution. Here’s how to go private on Instagram:
- Open your Instagram app
- Tap the menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the top right corner
- Hit settings
- Scroll down to privacy
- The first thing you’ll see is private account; when the toggle button is to the left, the account is public; to activate it, tap the toggle button to turn it blue.
- Your account will then be private.
*note: business and creator accounts CANNOT be switched to private. If you want a private account, you must also sacrifice your business profile and your Instagram analytics. Is it worth it? The choice is yours.
All in all, a private Instagram account means that you’ll be able to fully control who has access to your content and what you share. If you feel that you’re seriously at risk, going private may be the right option; keep in mind, though, that building a larger Instagram following will be much more difficult.
2. Clean Out Your Followers
Even after you switch your account to private, all of the previous followers and followed accounts you had will still remain. It’s a good idea, then, to audit your current follower list and remove users when necessary.
To see who your followers are, simply visit your Instagram profile and find the number with the word followers below it. Tap that number.
You’ll then be directed to a list of every account that follows you.
On that list, each account’s profile picture and username will be shown; on the very right, there will be a box that says remove. If you no longer want that user to follow you, simply tap the remove button, and they will no longer be your follower.
If your account is now private, they’ll have to request you to regain access and you’ll have to approve that request. If your profile is still public, they’ll be able to access your content if they search for your profile, but it won’t appear in their feeds.
In general, it’s a good idea to clean out your Instagram followers every now and then to remove accounts that aren’t engaging much or even get rid of any spam or bot accounts that are polluting your follower list.
So, what if your account is still public, or you don’t want that user searching for your profile at all? Here are some other options.
3. Block Instastalkers
One surefire way to eliminate any activity from an Instastalker (that you’re aware of) who uses a particular account is to block them. Once you block that user, you’ll be completely protected from them reaching out to you ever again.
When you block a user, they will no longer see your profile in searches, they won’t be able to request you, and any previous messages that you had with the account will disappear completely from their inbox. You are as good as gone from their Instagram world.
So, to block a person, simply:
- Visit the user’s profile.
- Once on their profile, find the three dots in the top-right corner.
- Tap the dots and hit the block option (you’ll also see a restrict option which will minimize the visibility of their comments on your profile, if you don’t want to remove them completely).
- Once you tap block, Instagram will prompt you to confirm that you want to block them, and you’ll also have the option to report any actions that they’ve done in contradiction with Instagram’s terms of service.
- They’ll no longer be able to search for or see your profile on Instagram, nor past DMs
If you decide at a later time that you no longer want this user blocked, you can simply remove the block from the privacy settings of your Instagram; find the blocked accounts section and simply remove the block.
4. Limit Your Story Viewers
If you’re concerned about people viewing your Instagram stories, you have two options to restrict this content.
You can hide your story from particular users, or you can post only to close friends. If you have a particular user who you don’t want seeing your story, hiding it is the best option.
To hide your Instagram story, go to your settings and find the privacy tab. Click on story, and then choose the Hide Story From option. You can then search for and select the user that you don’t want to see your stories.
When you hide your story from the main profile menu, this will apply to all of the stories that you post to Instagram. If you want them to see your story, you’ll have to deselect the circle next to their name on the same menu.
If you want to prohibit users from resharing your stories, you can, on the same Story menu in the privacy settings, toggle the Allow Resharing to Stories option to the off position. This will be for all users, though— you can’t pick and choose.
The second option, posting your IG stories to close friends, is a great way to share a more personal story to only friends, family, and people you trust without limiting the public nature of your Instagram account.
To set up your close friends list, navigate to the same Story menu and tap Close Friends.
You can search by username to create a list of all close friends that you want to see any stories shared with close friends. When you post an IG story, simply tap the Close Friends option to share with them; you can also add and remove close friends at any time.
5. Protect Your Activity and Visibility
Instagram is aware that people are concerned about their safety and online security, and therefore offers a variety of controls to help limit who views your activity and visibility on Instagram.
One thing you can do is turn off Contact Syncing from Instagram; you can do this via Settings > Account > Contacts Syncing.
You should also ask Instagram to stop suggesting your account to people who “may” know you or may have similar accounts to yours. Turning this option off limits who sees your profile from IG’s suggestion.
To turn this off, you’ll have to visit the Instagram website. Visit the Instagram website and then view your profile.
Choose Edit Profile, and scroll all the way to the bottom to ensure the Similar Account Suggestions is deselected.
Even further, you can stop people from viewing when you’re on the Instagram app by turning off your activity status. This means, in turn, that you won’t be able to see the activity status of anyone else (it’s only fair!).
To do this, simply follow the steps: Settings > Privacy > Activity Status. Once on the Activity Status menu, you’ll see Show Activity Status; switch off that toggle switch and it will be disabled.
Final Thoughts: Get Rid of Your Instastalkers
With over 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram, there’s no telling who’s looking at your profile. While Instagram brings a world of possibility and opportunity, you’ve got to protect your information as best as possible.
You want to build an Instagram community that is safe, engaging, and fruitful, not pestered by Instastalkers and trolls. Implementing these controls on your Instagram account can help you when a user puts you in an uncomfortable position or tries to take advantage of the info you share on your profile.
Have you ever had an unruly Instagram user following you? What did you do? Let us know in the comments!