Instagram is Watching Us

Is Instagram spying on us?


By: Widad Khalid, Journalist

Is Instagram watching and listening to you without your permission? Does Instagram have access to all the information on our phones? Are the new terms and conditions of the app invading our privacy? Are these just rumors?

Facebook Inc. (0wners of Instagram) is again being sued for allegedly spying on Instagram users. The iOS 14 update allows users to see a green icon on the control panel of an iPhone or iPad screen when apps use their camera or microphone. Instagram users shared screenshots on Twitter showing Instagram is using their iPhone camera while scrolling through the site. Users started freaking out on Twitter and even went as far as deleting the app. Although, Facebook denied the reports and blamed a bug. They claimed no data was being recorded. However, users were not convinced. 

In the complaint filed in the federal court, Instagram user says the app’s use of the camera is intentional and was done for accessing “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to.” Many users supported her statement and agreed that it was for market research. Do you think it was just a bug or was it intentional? 

Recently the app has updated its privacy policies and terms of use. Rumor has it the way you interact with a post, the time you look at it, how you touch the screen, and the speed you like are all being watched through your front camera.  

If you’ve actually read the terms of application, you would’ve known that was fake news! Using cell phone cameras to monitor reactions or expressions has not even been established yet. The policy includes information on facial recognition, but says they do not use the technology on Instagram. “If we start using it, we will notify you and we will give you the option to choose if you want to accept its use”, announces Facebook. 

In the legal information section of Instagram, we can find what the app monitors for advertising. Instagram only collects the information that we provide, such as the hashtags you use and your location.

In conclusion, Instagram is not watching us. Although you can never be too sure. Using social media is a risk. Anything that you post, send, comment, like, etc is being recorded so be careful. Make sure you are aware of your digital footprint.

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