Bye Instagram, Hi Privacy – Why I’m Quitting Now

Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

Edward Snowden

My Realisation

After 4 years of loyally using Instagram for my poetry and photography, I’m glad to have realised the truth. Evidently, It did take me quite some time to realise this, but hey – better late than never.

Back in 2018, I have decided to leave Facebook. This was after the Cambridge Analytics scandal exposing the priorities of Mark Zuckerberg and his consorts.

Facebook sold millions of user profiles worth of data to CA for nefarious reasons. However, the tech behemoth claims to be oh-so-invested into user privacy.

Always the User’s Fault

Privacy by design seems to be unknown to Facebook, and the users must change settings themselves, lest their data is at risk. Quite cheeky for one of the biggest social networks to make such a claim, right?

Now, although this all was irritating enough already, a recent study by cloud storage firm pCloud has found that behind Facebook, Instagram is the most invasive mobile app when it comes to user data.

There is Another Way

I don’t know about you, but I like to be in control of my data. Apps that are under the guise of being “free” are increasingly turning us into the currency.

This isn’t to say that free apps cannot be truly free. It all ultimately comes down to the core design philosophy held by these apps.

One such example is the app Poetizer. Designed intently to provide a creative space for writers in mind, without the need to sell away your personal data, their core philosophy in itself is what keeps this app data-friendly. You can find my Poetizer account here.

A lack of alternatives is a common excuse why people let data harvesters misuse their data. However, reality is different: A quick Google search for “Privacy alternative to XYZ” reveals a plethora of alternatives for any social network.

Then there is Awesome Privacy. It is a great hub for privacy-respecting social network alternatives.

The Downside to Data Privacy

Admittedly, there are far less users on privacy-respecting social networks as compared to “big social media”. This results in the former group of users separating from the latter.

Of course, we all want to stay in touch with our friends and family. This is why outright moving to a more private social network might not always be a viable option.

Consider Alternative Clients

Facebook harvests your data through the Facebook app. The Instagram app does the same through its own app. Some social networks also display ads on the web when logged in, such as the Facebook Audience Network. It is a good idea to completely leave such networks in the past if you’re concerned for your data.

We turn to alternative clients to help us solve the downsides of data-privacy. One example is Barinsta, the Instagram app reimagined with privacy in mind. Or Friendly, which gives access to Facebook without the data-kraken part.

In Conclusion

It takes a collective effort to campaign for more data-privacy. For now, we can only change the way we access our favourite social networks, or leave them behind outright.

However, with enough user pressure we could see positive change a few years down the line.

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