Be Warned, Instagram Controls More Than You Think

Be Warned, Instagram Controls More Than You Think

Instagram has been a strong tool for many photographers and creatives around the world for nearly seven years, but many still get confused by all the small details you sign yourself up for. The terms of service for many social platforms are a daunting and simple to bypass when clicking to sign on for the first time. Take this as a simple reminder: you want to make sure to at least read through the major bullet points before joining any social platform, as you are signing yourself up for a lot more than you think. Control of who you follow and unfollow could be one of those things you bypass. 

Instagram is still by far my favorite social platform, but it has its quirks, and if you aren't aware of it, either the platform or third-party apps can control more than you think. Follower count is by far one of the biggest factors in how you are ranked on social media; Instagram is no different. Everyone wants to be the next overnight sensation to hit big with hundreds of thousands of followers and brands clamoring to work with them, but sadly, it comes with hard work and quite a bit of know-how. Here is how to know when Instagram is controlling more about who follows you and who you follow in return.

Knowing the Settings (Web)

It's very important every so often to jump into the settings. Both of these have different levels of complexity and as time goes on, these will just add more details. You can find things such as changing your password, notifications, and the most important, the authorized apps section. 

Knowing the Settings (Mobile)

When it comes to the mobile app, it's a great place to dig and find ways to fine-tune your overall Instagram experience. You can do basic tasks such as edit your profile, change your password, and change your story settings. 

I would personally love for the web platform to grow as much as the mobile app. The control to push the web experience could be a huge move for professionals looking to build a custom website of sorts to showcase their portfolio. 

Authorized Apps

This is the major reason I am writing this post and easily the most important setting within Instagram or any social platform that you need to know. Authorized apps can be a tricky one to figure out, because basic sites such as Chrome can gain access to your Instagram page by asking for it before you can advance to another step on the Chrome app. Many third-party apps do this, and you may have seen a screen like the one below asking you to authorize the app to allow it to control specific parts of your IG page. In most cases, it will say something like "view your profile" and "view your friends list," but it's not limited to liking photos; following and unfollowing, commenting, sending direct messages, and even posting to your own page are all possible options. 

I have seen the issue come up many times in which people wonder why they are following accounts they don't remember following. This section is likely where that is coming from, and it's a quick fix. You simply follow the steps below, and you should be good to go. 

Step 1

Find the gear in the top middle next to "Edit Profile."

Step 2

Find "Authorized Apps."

Step 3

Find and identify any and all third-party apps that are using your account for their own gain. Sure, many of these apps will be taking advantage of basic information and friends lists, which so many apps have done for years, but this way, you can click through to unauthorize what you want easily and quickly .

I hope you all found this article and walkthrough helpful for the next time you find yourself confused by the way Instagram is set up. I'm happy to help and fill in any blanks you might have in the comments below.

Andrew Griswold's picture

Andrew Griswold is a photographer and designer based in Indianapolis. Born and raised in Indy he has made a name for himself by staying very active in the creative community in both photography and design. He has also founded a community of photographers via Instagram connecting them with brands to work with and shoot locally.

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This alone should make you think twice before using Instagram -

Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, subject to the Service's Privacy Policy,

Or this

Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.

dam russians.

Anyone who is so afraid of Instagram stealing their stuff and doing something nefarious with it should really stop using the app. I think this is not a real concern. Any amount of potential risk in posting to IG is far outweighed by the business benefits I get out of it. You can hole up in a cabin and never share your work anywhere if you're afraid of it being used, but it's totally unrealistic to worry about this stuff.

Maybe I did make this seem more extreme than it really is but I can't tell you how many times this question or concern has come up in conversation with various photographers and Instagram users so I thought I would go through the basic motions to be aware of. Thanks for the reminder that there is still a HUGE benefit to using social platforms and sharing your work despite the small concerns some may have.

As I see it, it's just a non-issue. If anyone bothered reading other TOS, they'd never leave their houses because so many things are in those things for legal coverage.

You can hole up in a cabin and never share your work anywhere if you're afraid of it being used -
That sounds good to me, looking for a lake cabin.......

not to worried and I still own my images and REGISTER THEM !!!

but sadly you have to put things like this juice container is not edible
and this plastic bag is not a toy
and so on these days

if IG had a screen snap of someones feed and had a ad that said come join the other photographers that ad would be like gold to that photographer ;) just another way of looking at it

they are not going to be able to take your photo and sell it as advertising to Coke and you loose out !

"...they are not going to be able to take your photo and sell it as advertising to Coke and you loose out!"

No, but they could become the worlds biggest micro stock website and sell your images for 5 cents a go. Then you may see your work being used on all sorts of junk...

Personally, I'm not worried by it and still happily use IG, but you should NEVER under estimate the lows of what Facebook can go to. If there is money to be extracted they will probably do it.

if your work is registered I think they would have a hard time
especially if you knew it was coming and pulled it :)

BUT the COULD is the thing reckon like you I am not worried and I just finally joined a few months ago :)

agree about the lows and the grab !!! I personally hate the owner being from the islands and what he has done to folks on Kauai is disgusting but a whole other thread his care for fellow humans IMHO is fake and his wealth and actions is proof of this

The problem Facebook would have trying to sell our work off Instagram is the fact there is so much proliferated work on there that has been illegally uploaded by people other than the copyright holder.

If Facebook tried to sell that stuff they would have a lot of legal battles on their hands. Maybe AI can get around this and filter stuff in the future I don't know.

Like you I don't trust Facebook and never will.

Great to hear you register your work btw, a lot of people don't. : )

I have a question about the website access to Instagram for the Authorized Applications of which you speak of in your article. Mostly I use Instagram via my mobile cell but every few days I do get onto the website via my laptop. Your article had me saying "hmmmm...let me check this out and see who has access and what". I found 2 apps that have 'access' to my information. 1st one is called 'Photo Entry'. Under the app name it says "Post Instagram photos to galleries and follow favorite brands. It has access to my basic information, can follow and unfollow account on my behalf. I'm uncertain if this is actually THEE Instagram application itself? The 2nd one is called 'Bright Camera'. Under the app name it says, "Photo sharing mobile application." It has access to my basic information, can post/delete liked photos on my behalf and post/delete comments on my behalf. Under each of these is the button REVOKE ACCESS. My confusion (Some things online and social media I know very well and other things I'm still learning about even though I've been on social media for over 10 years.

My question (and confusion) is WHAT HAPPENS if I were to click the 'Revoke Access' button under each of these? Also, I am not a photographer, but I am newly starting a Blog page, Youtube page, creating my business/fan page on Facebook (so many dos & donts on Facebook it's almost scary and another language to me!). I want to start using my current Instagram page to build my followers, drive traffic to and between my various sites and, of course, learn HOW TO start making an income (of which I am still learning about....and feeling a little overwhelmed and lost but I'm determined to learn). I've read articles on this website before as I do love photography and am researching a few cameras to use for my Youtube videos (my cell camera/video is alright but I want to upgrade quality as I'm financially able to). Photography is a Hobby of mine, but I see no reason to not also use it for some side income. For now, I'm focusing on mastering my Blog and Youtube pages, but still need a good camera such as the Canon 60d or the Canon G7x or Canon T3i/T4i. I would greatly appreciate help in understanding the Authorized Applications section; what to look out for specifically and NOT ALLOW (aka - Revoke Access) and any other 'tips' you may choose to toss my way =) Thank you for your time.