The Hidden Truth of Instagram: Your Personal Information Exposed

You may have encountered situations where you’ve noticed ads or posts on your Instagram page that align with your recent thoughts or searches. It can be quite unsettling, leading to questions about how Instagram obtains this information. Did we inadvertently allow them access to our computers and smart devices, enabling them to search through our private and confidential data? Are they then passing this information to AI algorithms to display targeted ads?

Many individuals have even claimed that after having conversations with friends, they’ve seen the exact same topic appear on their Instagram feed within a few hours. This has sparked concerns that Instagram and other social media platforms might be listening to our conversations via smartphone microphones.

This issue extends beyond Instagram and encompasses other major tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple, each with their own data collection practices. For instance, Google seemingly knows your whereabouts and activities whenever you step out onto the streets. Apple’s Find My app tracks and traces your location if you own one of their devices. While Apple assures users that this information is encrypted end-to-end and remains confidential, doubts have arisen regarding the extent of data privacy.

If you’ve watched the documentary “The Social Dilemma,” you’ll understand why these big tech companies are so financially successful: data.

I, too, have often questioned how social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter manage to generate massive profits while offering their services for free. The answer is now quite apparent. They leverage the vast amount of data they possess, collected from users worldwide. To put it bluntly, Instagram likely has access to a significant portion of your personal information stored in their massive data centers. They have access to your contact details (phone number, email, address), payment information, passwords, and all your chats and messages with friends. Even if you delete a page or clear your browsing history, Instagram still retains knowledge of the pages you visited since the beginning of your usage on the platform. They might even be aware of the number of dates you’ve been on, the number of partners you’ve had, and the lies you’ve told your friends and family. This level of insight is unsettling. With such an extensive amount of user data, Instagram can even analyze individual psychology. With advancements in AI and machine learning algorithms, it becomes relatively easy for them to understand your preferences and emotions. Consequently, they can curate posts, display targeted ads, and connect you with the individuals you’re likely to engage with. The revenue primarily comes from advertisements since smaller companies are eager to showcase their products and services on Instagram, knowing they will be presented to a highly interested audience.

Regrettably, this is a common reality, and there are limited ways to prevent them from collecting such vast amounts of information. The only feasible option would be to delete all your accounts, sell your smartphone, switch to an older device restricted to calls and texts, and live a more secluded life. However, this is not a path most of us want to take. Therefore, we must place our trust in these platforms’ security measures and hope that their data centers remain impenetrable (though hackers have managed to breach them on multiple occasions).

Author: Rambod Azimi

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