Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps in the world. It offers a great way to share your life with your friends, family, and followers through pictures and videos. As great as Instagram is, many users are concerned about their privacy when using the app.
Think someone is stalking you on Instagram? Think someone might have a secret crush on you and is following you online? Want to know if someone is taking a little too much interest in what you do on social media?
This tutorial will show you how to tell if someone is either watching but not engaging or lurking on your Instagram.
Social media is exactly that, social. If you’re online, you’re in the public eye and people taking an interest in you is the cost of doing business online. That said, there’s a difference between actively engaging with you, being curious and checking you out, and stalking.
By stalking, we don’t mean a scene from You, it’s more about someone who likes seeing what you’re up to without saying hi. Still, it’s understandable that you might want to know who’s browsing your profile and looking through your posts.
Unfortunately, your options are limited for finding out if someone is constantly viewing your profile on Instagram. There isn’t a lot of feedback from the network as to what’s going on, who viewed what, or when someone viewed your profile. Your only option is Instagram Stories which, like its Snapchat progenitor, tells you who viewed it.
Instagram Stories: The Only Way to Know Who’s Watching
Instagram Story Views
Instagram Stories are a copy of Snapchat Stories and work in almost exactly the same way. You create a post, set it as a Story, it is public for 24 hours, then it disappears.
You select someone’s profile in the app to see their stories and they do the same to see yours. Just like Snapchat, Instagram Stories tell you who has viewed your story.
You can swipe up from within one of your own Instagram Stories to see who has viewed it. The screen will show the username of each person who viewed your story. While not confirmed, some believe that the order in which names appear apparently indicates how often they have viewed it. Of course, Instagram has never confirmed this but it’s an interesting theory.
The name at the top is the person that has viewed it most. This is, as mentioned, only a theory as Instagram won’t confirm whether this is true or not, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence online that this is the case.
Catching the Stalker
Instagram Stories are the only way to find out WHO is engaging in your content. Instagram Analytics will tell professional account owners how many people watched, but they don’t disclose the account that’s viewing your posts. So, there is one workaround method that we’ve come up with for snuffing out your Stalker.
When you post an Instagram Story, you have the option to hide your Story from others. This is different from the ‘Close Friends’ list that alerts the user you’re only sharing it with certain people.
Assuming you have a suspicion that someone is stalking your content, post a Story, and hide it from everyone else on your list. Before posting your Story, go to the Story Settings and select the option to ‘Hide Story From.’ Select everyone but the person of interest. Doing this means they won’t know that they’re the only person who can see the Story.
Not only will you see that they viewed it, but if you’re using Instagram Analytics you can also watch the view count increase each time they do. If they watch the Story multiple times you’ll know it was them because they’re the only person who has access to it.
Unfortunately, this is the best way we know how to see whether or not someone is actively seeking out your content to watch over and over again. If you don’t have Instagram’s Analytics setup this will only tell you if they watched it.
Other Ways to Test if Someone is Stalking You On Instagram
Aside from showing you who has viewed your Instagram Story, there is no other way within the app to tell what’s going on. Snapchat offers a lot more information on who is doing what, but Instagram does not.
So if nobody leaves a comment or engages with you in another way, you’re in the dark.
Or are you?
There are a lot of third-party applications, browser extensions, and websites that make the promise to show you who is viewing your profile. Many of these do not work while some others require access to your private information for nefarious purposes.
Although there may be some legitimate resources out there, users should beware of the dangers of using such a service. Read the reviews and do your research on the developer before signing up for anything.
Handling Stalking on Instagram
To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot you can do if you think someone is stalking you on Instagram. As long as they aren’t making threats or seriously bothering you in any way, they aren’t doing anything legally wrong. This is the price of social media. You’re out there for all to see and people can do whatever they want with the information you post online.
If your suspicion is getting the better of you, there are some privacy settings you can change on Instagram that could stop the person following you around on the network.
- Open Instagram profile on the lower right of the screen and select the three-line menu icon.
- Select Settings and Privacy.
- Under Account Privacy, toggle on Private Account.
A Private Account is only visible to people who follow you. People who want to follow you will send a request which you can accept or deny at your discretion. This setting makes you a lot less visible on Instagram by allowing you to decide who gets to see your profile and posts.
You can also turn off your activity status:
- Open Settings then Privacy on Instagram.
- Select Activity Status and toggle Show Activity Status to off.
This will stop anyone seeing what you’re up to on Instagram but will also stop you from seeing other’s activity status. It’s a two-way street.
If you have an idea of who it is that is stalking you, remove them as a follower.
- Select your Profile within Instagram.
- Select Followers at the top.
- Select the Remove button next to the follower you want to remove.
If you have set your account to private, this person will no longer be able to see anything you do on your account as long as they aren’t a follower. They may still see your comments or likes on other people’s posts but they will not see anything you post on your own profile.
A private Instagram account does lower the engagement factor of social media but does also offer a little protection. You could try turning your account private for a month or two and then make it public again. Chances are, whoever it was who was stalking you would get bored by then and move on.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do if someone is making threats on Instagram?
If someone has threatened you via a comment or a direct message, the first thing you should do is take a screenshot. Many professionals recommend that you don’t respond to someone who is hostile on social media, but capturing an image of the content with their username will help you move forward. You can report the user to Instagram by clicking on the three-dot menu on their profile or visiting the Instagram support website (this is where the screenshot comes to play. If the threat is serious enough, or you feel it is valid, it’s probably a good idea to contact your local law enforcement authorities.
If someone appears at the top of my feed, does that mean they are viewing my profile a lot?
There is a theory that Instagram’s algorithm puts those who you interact with the most at the top of your feed. While it does make sense, it has not been confirmed by Instagram.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eThe Facebook-owned company may use similar algorithms on the Instagram platform to bring you stories and posts that you are likely to be interested in. That said, it is certainly plausible that those who appear at the top are checking your profile frequently and vise versa.
Instagram can be a great app for sharing photos and videos with your friends, family, and followers, but it’s not the best app for those who are concerned about their online privacy.
As it stands, there’s no real way to know if anyone is stalking you on Instagram. So, as you should when using any social media platform, always be mindful of what you post when using Instagram.