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How To Delete (or Deactivate) Your Instagram Account

How To Delete (or Deactivate) Your Instagram Account
Mar 7, 2022
Over 70% of US-based people between 18 and 29 use Instagram, with 320 million total Instagram users globally.
Berktug Mutlu
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How To Delete (or Deactivate) Your Instagram Account - FastVPN
Over 70% of US-based people between 18 and 29 use Instagram, with 320 million total Instagram users globally. It can be great to connect with friends and family via this photo-sharing platform. But Meta, the parent company also known for Facebook, isn’t known for its respect for your data. If you have similar concerns, this article will teach you how to delete your Instagram.
Regardless of why you want to disable your Instagram account, it is your business. Below, we will provide you with some compelling reasons to delete your account and provide you with the steps you need to do so.

Why Should I Delete My Instagram Account?

There are three reasons you should delete your Instagram account:
  • Instagram has a vast history of data leaks
  • Instagram’s privacy policy isn’t great
  • Social media is inherently unsafe
Instagram is known for having a history of data leaks. While not all of them are due to Instagram’s security issues, most come from the inherent lack of safety from using social media. Here are some of the recent ones:
  • Comparitech’s security research team revealed an unsecured database of 235 million Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube profiles.
  • Socialarks, a Chinese startup company, had a massive data leak of 400 GB of personal data, including over 11 million Instagram user profiles.
  • Anurag Sen, a security researcher, revealed that Instagram had an unprotected server showing over 49 million exposed account credentials.
Almost 15% of Instagram users have exposed user information in the best-case scenario. Given the high number of social influencers who use the platform, it is likely more.
Given that celebrity data is among the leaked information, a lot of money flows through Instagram. This social platform is a gold mine for any hacker who can break down these walls.

How To Delete Your Instagram Account Permanently

If you want to delete your Instagram account permanently, you must do so from a mobile browser or desktop computer. You cannot delete your account from the Instagram app.
Here are some steps you can follow to proceed with the deletion process:
  1. Go to the Instagram “Delete Your Account” page
  1. Select a reason why you are deleting your account from the deletion page.
  1. Scroll down until you see “Delete Account.”
  1. Click the button and re-enter your password for confirmation.
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You will receive an email confirmation and log out of your account, knowing the deletion process has begun. If you are still in the profile or move to another page, you will have to try again.

How Long Does It Take for Instagram to Delete Your Account?

It takes Instagram 30 days to complete the account deletion process. During this time, your profile will be disabled, and nobody will be able to view it from your profile URL.
In some cases, Instagram states that it can take up to 90 days to complete this process. This situation is more likely if you have more account history and pictures.
Instagram will bring your account back from deletion if you log in during this deletion process. However, this undoing is only guaranteed for the first 30 days. If you log in between 31 and 90 days, your account is still likely to be deleted.

Can You Get Your Account Back After Deletion?

If you manage to contact Instagram before your account is permanently deleted (within 30 days), you will be able to prevent your account from being removed. However, it is impossible to bring back your account from deletion after up to 90 days.
After the account deletion process is done, Instagram removes the following:
  • Profile data
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Follows
Because of this, you will need to create a brand new account to access Instagram’s services. If you want, you can choose your old username.

Can You Temporarily Deactivate Your Instagram Account?

If you prefer to take a break from Instagram, the service also allows for temporary disablement. Much like deletion, the public won’t have access to any profile data. Your comments, likes, and follows will also be made invisible.
Much like deletion, you will need to do so from a desktop or mobile browser. Here are the steps you need to take:
  1. After logging in, click your profile picture, select “profile,” and select “edit profile.”
  1. Scroll until you see “Temporarily disable my account.”
  1. Provide a reason for why you are disabling your account in the drop-down menu
  1. Scroll until you see “Temporarily disable account.”
  1. Re-enter your password to confirm you want your account disabled.
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There isn’t a way to permanently disable your account, unlike account deletion. Upon logging in, Instagram will ask if you want to re-activate your account.
This makes bringing back your account a more straightforward process than deleting. After all, Meta (Instagram’s parent company) doesn’t like to give up your user information quickly, as it makes money off of providing that information to advertisers.

What Does Deactivating Your Account Do?

Deactivating your account hides the following information.
  • Profile data
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Follows
Bear in mind that hiding doesn’t mean your data isn’t there. It just means that your account isn’t public, meaning Instagram is still using your data for informational and advertising purposes.
When re-activating your account, your data should revert to prior settings. If you have a private account, only your friends (and maybe friends of friends) will see your comments, profile, and likes. Otherwise, your account defaults to public.

Can I Delete My Child’s Instagram Account?

To delete your child’s Instagram account, you will need to access a desktop or mobile browser. You will also need to log out of your current account, which you can do in the upper-right-hand corner.
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Instagram disallows non-owners of an account from requesting deletion. Regardless of whether you are the parent, you will struggle with Instagram’s support on your right to delete their online profile.
If your child is below the age of 13, you can report the account. Violations of Instagram’s terms of service are a quick way to cause permanent removal. However, Instagram will need to b able to confirm this, so fill out this form in the event you catch someone underaged using the social platform.

How To Download Your Instagram Account Data

Much like everything else on this list, you need to download your account data from either desktop or mobile browser. There’s no download button available on the mobile application.
Before you remove any data from Instagram, you should retrieve a copy of it. You can use Instagram’s Data Download tool to do this, which you can find under your profile settings within “Privacy and Security.”
To download your data, you will need to follow these steps:
  1. Confirm your email is accurate from the tool
  1. Select either JSON or HTML format
  1. Re-enter your password to confirm your identity
The file you receive will not include data you’ve already removed from Instagram. So that embarrassing comment you left on your crush’s page, still gone forever.
The JSON format is a lightweight text-only information piece. Meanwhile, HTML is best viewed in browsers and is more user-friendly. Selecting either format yields similar results.

Why Would You Want Your Instagram Account Data?

Even if you do not want your data on public social media display, there is some benefit to keeping digital copies. Here are some of the most common reasons:
  • It enables you to track specific data exposures
  • You can use it to go down memory lane
  • You can hold Instagram accountable for data breaches
The best way to maintain ownership of your data is by tracking it. If you do not have a copy of your information on a flash drive or secure cloud server, it is hard to prove that the data belongs to you.
Information proving you were on Instagram can entitle you to recompose in the event of data leaks. Even if Instagram wasn’t the leaker, finding your data on a third-party website is more doable if you have a copy of it.

Essential Points To Instagram’s Privacy Policy (Data Policy)

Being a product of Meta (known for Facebook), Instagram’s policy on user information is abysmal. Privacy enthusiasts everywhere should avoid both Facebook and Instagram account with this in mind.
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Much of this comes from the kinds of information Instagram collects, specifically this quote:
We collect the content, communications and other information you provide when you use our Products, including when you sign up for an account, create or share content, and message or communicate with others.
Based on the wording of Instagram’s data policy, It can take information from your private messages.

What Data Does Instagram Store About You?

Outside of the worst offense above, Instagram collects this information:

Information You Provide

  • Posting content
  • Sign up data
  • Metadata (location, time of photo)
  • Camera data
  • Data with special protections (optional)
The “special protections” might include religious or political views. Meta uses everything you are willing to provide.

Connections (People You Know)

  • Friends
  • Hashtags
  • Groups
  • Address book information (should you choose to provide it)

Usage Data

  • How/When you use their product
  • What content you view
  • The actions you take (on and off the site)
  • Frequency of activities and interactions

Transactional Information

  • Purchases
  • Donations
  • Credit card details
  • Billing, shipping, and contact details

Information Others Provide About You

  • Comments (on your feed)
  • Contact information
  • Photos of you

Other Information

  • Device information
  • Cookies
  • Connection data
  • Device signals (Bluetooth and Wi-Fi)
  • Social Plugins (like from Facebook)
  • Third-party data (sites you visit, purchases you make, ads you see on other websites)

How Does Instagram Use Your Data?

Much like other businesses that work in data collection, Meta uses your data for what you might expect.
Meta’s ultimate goal is to use your information to create a tailored experience. You are trading your privacy for convenience. For example,  Meta will use data based on your browsing history to suggest Instagram friends for you. You can follow the same process on Facebook when you see “suggested groups.”
Meta also tracked your location information to provide you with accurate location-based services. Ads you see often come from nearby providers. People are more likely to respond if the ad has local recognition.
Of course, all of this ties into their product research and development phase. The usage of mass customer data reveals the wants of people in bulk. This data enables Meta to provide its products and services.
In some cases, this can contain social good (i.e., Facebook Disaster Maps). Still, most of this data has nothing to do with being good.

Does Instagram Sell Your Data?

Instagram’s Data Policy uses specific wording to appeal to its customer base:
We don’t sell any of your information to anyone, and we never will.
Admittedly, you don’t have to worry about having your credit card information and personal address sold by most social media sites. However, how they use your data is sales.
Programmatic advertising, which Facebook is well-known for, use your data. While they might never see it, you’ve been combined with a bubble of fellow people in a data set.
Using the data you’ve willingly provided, advertisers can get products you want directly in your face. So yes, Meta doesn’t sell your information, just the use of it.

What Information Does Instagram Keep About You After Deletion?

Despite deleting the bulk of your data, Instagram keeps some basic information. Your data is kept in case of legal inquiries, meaning creating an Instagram account keeps your permanently on your servers to some degree.
If you live in California, you have more rights to your data. The Instagram California Privacy Policy states the following:
You have the right to request that we delete your Personal Information that we have collected from you;
If Instagram gives you trouble as a California resident, you can request an authorized agent to work on your behalf.

Is There A Way To Keep Your Instagram Data Secure?

If you want to stay connected with a small group of friends, Instagram does have a private mode. Becoming private prevents anyone by approved followers from seeing your profile.
If you have an Instagram Business Account, you will need to switch to a personal account before switching to private mode.
To make your account private, you will have to follow these directions:
  1. Click or tap your profile picture
  1. Go to your settings
  1. Select “privacy”
  1. Click the box (or tap) next to private account)
Because the account is limited to approved followers, friends will need to follow you to check you out. This feature gives you control over what people see in your account. Unapproved users will also not be able to see your comments.
If you have an issue with an unwanted person, you should block them:
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Blocking is a great way to prevent specific people from seeing your content. You might also set your profile to private to be doubly sure they can’t see it. In extreme situations, don’t hesitate to contact the authorities.
Regardless, the private mode will not prevent Instagram from using your information, reading your profile, and viewing your messages.

Extra Security Tips for Instagram Users

Here are some extra tips you can use as an Instagram user:
  • Disable location-based tracking. When installing the app on your smartphone, it will request your location. You can prevent this request by clicking the “deny” button as it pops up.
  • Use an alternate messaging platform. To prevent meta from reading your messages, limit communication to private platforms like Telegram. Don’t use WhatsApp; Facebook owns it.
  • Delete (some) of your data. Instagram doesn’t require you to provide your life story. Be picky with what you choose to provide to the company.
  • Provide false information. Meta doesn’t double-check to see if you are being honest. Providing incorrect information makes it difficult for people to track you.
  • Use The Fast VPN. Using our VPN service in combination with these activities will encrypt your connection and traffic logs. Doing so will make it impossible for Instagram to use accurate ads.
  • Don’t download the smartphone app. The smartphone app has a lot of background trackers that make it difficult to manage. Avoid downloading the Instagram app to avoid tracking.
  • Delete your cookies before using the platform. Deleting local data and website cookies is a great way to prevent trackers from gaining anything concrete. Delete after each use for optimum security.
  • Avoid public networks. Logging in on social media using a public network is dangerous. Avoid public networks in most cases.

Conclusion – Is It Possible To Stay Safe on Instagram?

It is pretty easy to remain anonymous on Instagram by using many of the tips above. Much like any social media user, it is impossible to be 100% secure with all trackers.
If you have an Android smartphone, Google is bad enough about tracking and syncing your data across platforms. Using Meta is asking them to take your data and use it.
While there are anonymous social media platforms, many friends and family don’t want to use them. After all, most people are willing to sacrifice privacy for convenience.
Check out our guide on the top VPN routers for additional home network security. Thanks for reading, and always prioritize your online safety.
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