Data protection: How to protect one's privacy on Instagram and Snapchat... with step-by-step privacy guidelines

  • Awareness
  • 30/03/2016
  • Austrian Safer Internet Centre

Pictures, videos and emojis are becoming increasingly important for online communication – especially with children and young people. Two of their favourite apps for sending photos are Instagram and Snapchat.

Protecting one's privacy online is particularly important when it comes to pictures and videos. Once a picture has been shared, it could end up all over the internet – and might prove hard to take down again.
 
In order to help young users protect their privacy while using Instagram or Snapchat, the Austrian Safer Internet Centre (SIC), Saferinternet.at, has published in-depth guidelines. These guidelines explain, step by step, how to protect one's privacy on Instagram or Snapchat and can be downloaded for free from the Saferinternet.at website at www.saferinternet.at/leitfaden.
 
Which privacy settings should be considered for more safety? Here are the most important tips in a nutshell:
 
Instagram
  • Your Instagram account is public by default: this means that every posted picture may be seen by anyone, even by people who have no Instagram account of their own. Public Instagram accounts and postings can also be found by search engines such as Google. Tip: Use Instagram in private mode so that postings are only shared with approved followers.

Picture: Pixabay.com, CC0 Public Domain

  • If someone tags you in a photo, it will appear automatically in the ‘Photos of you' section and may be seen by anyone. Tip: You can change the settings so that you have to manually approve pictures you have been tagged in. You can also remove tags if you no longer want to be linked to a certain picture.
  • You can block users if you don't want them to send you private messages or invite you into a group. If you change your mind, you can simply unblock them again.
  • If you stumble upon inappropriate or dodgy content (e.g. nude pictures, self-harm or assault) you can report a photo or video directly to Instagram.
Snapchat
  • Even if a ‘Snap' vanishes after a maximum of 10 seconds, the recipient may always take a screenshot of your picture or save it with the help of a special app. Therefore, Snapchat is not safe for sexting.

Picture: Adam Przezdziek, CC BY-SA 2.0

  • You can choose who can send you Snaps or view your Stories – either ‘Everyone' (even strangers) or only ‘My Friends'.
  • You can keep strangers or unwelcome users from adding you as a friend by blocking them.
  • While the app itself is for free, additional costs might arise while using it. Be careful when using Lenses (not all of them are for free) or extra Replays of Snaps. It's best to deactivate in-app purchases on your phone to avoid unwanted costs and high bills.
  • The photos you post into ‘My Story' will be visible for all your friends for 24 hours. Nevertheless, you can get rid of single photos from your Story even sooner by deleting them one by one.
The detailed guidelines (in German) can be download at www.saferinternet.at/leitfaden.
 
Read more about the Austrian Safer Internet Centre.
 

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