Instagram is Not Paying Attention: Design Feature That Violates Privacy Raises Protests among Users

Regular Instagram users A.K.A Instagrammers must have already seen a few changes in their direct message or DM options. If you have not seen it yet, it is time for you to pay close attention to it. The newest update is becoming a bit unsettling for many users. It is challenging their privacy on social media, and that is reason enough for some people to panic. Just like millions out there, you may have not yet found out about the latest Instagram web design update. Here’s a brief look at it!

Users are just not loving it

The newest update that Instagram has rolled out is a user status activity feature. If you have direct messaged anyone, they will be able to see when you were last active. Your followers will also be able to view your log of activity. The new feature is also quite specific. Instagram does not stop at showing “was last active yesterday” or “was last active today.” The app goes to the extent of stating “last active xx minutes ago.” It also includes real-time updates like “seen” and “typing” in the inbox. Some of you may be thinking that it is no big deal since Facebook Messenger has had this option for ages. However, it just means that there is one more app that does not care about the users’ privacy concern.

With people humming the tune of breach of privacy all over social networks and mobilizing “delete Facebook” ideals, Instagram could not have picked a worse time to introduce a new feature that raises security and privacy concerns. There might be an annoying friend or an online stalker that you have ignored for days. Now, they can see when you were last active. It is just an additional reason to feel discomfort. The activity status broadcasts your usage habits to every one of your friends and followers.

The same mistake that Facebook has already made

Very recently, Mark Zuckerberg has taken a vow to correct everything that is wrong with the “bloated” social platform. It also includes the “active” status update of Facebook messenger on the app and website. The lack of filtering or rather the improper imposition of the same has led to rampant abuse of the communities and spread of fake news. The real-time statuses have led to the harassment of users. The ease of accessibility on social media is a two-sided coin. On one side is the ease of use, and on the other is the ease with which abusers and online stalkers can access your online data.

Another critical feature of Instagram is the “profile visits” message at the top of the user screen. It is in beta, and not all users can see this message. Combining the DM real-time status sharing and the profile visits feature paints a grim reality. Just like other social media platforms, Instagram has graduated to not listening to the users. To understand how these new features disrupt UX, visit

Why is sharing real-time status such a huge concern?

2017 was a black year when it comes to data breaches and privacy violations. With more e-commerce sites coming on Instagram, it has become a favorite marketing platform for almost every business. More people are visiting these sites through the profiles and leaving trails of data behind. If Instagram is making it easy for followers and random DM senders to see if and when a person is online, maybe it is also making it just as easy for the hackers to get user data from the backend. If that is the case, it surely will not be the first time a user faces data breach threat on social media.

How to turn the “show activity status” off on Instagram?

Thankfully, you can turn the last seen feature or the real-time status sharing off when you want. Since it is new and quite a bit panic-inducing, people are having trouble understanding how it works. Here’s what you need to do –

  • Open the Instagram app on your phone or from your desktop (check out new update for more details)
  • Go to your profile from the top left of navigation bar
  • Go to settings. For iOS users, go to the settings by selecting the gear icon. For Android users, go to settings by clicking on the 3-dots in the top right.
  • Keep scrolling under “Options” and toggle the “Show Activity Status” option off.

However, deciding to hide your real-time status means that you will not be able to see anyone’s status either. It works similar to WhatsApp in this aspect. If you are worried about your privacy regarding your late night scrolling or idle scrolling time without DM interruptions, that is one way to go about it for the time being.

Other changes rocking Instagram

The leading photo-sharing app has also been rolling out other updates in the meantime. Over the span of only about six months, there have been over five major and minor updates that Instagrammers have witnessed.

  • In January 2018, Instagram also introduced GIF stickers. Users can now add them to photo stories and video stories. It has made the feed a lot more interesting.
  • Users can post complete videos and photos without any resizing, editing and cropping. It is quite fantastic for photographers and brand publicists since it reduces much of their work in post-production editing.
  • Users can also delete their posts and update histories publicly, but save them for their pleasure. It works well for those memories that we would surely want our friends and followers to forget!

Interestingly, even after introducing the plethora of new changes over the last couple of months, the app had a genuine feel to it. Instagram was always the leading photo-blogging app that respected the users’ opinions and needs. However, with the status sharing fiasco, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain the same level of loyalty and love to the unique social media application. In any case, we hope that Instagram takes active steps about this most recent update before people start chanting “Delete Instagram” too!