Clever Teens and a Less Than Clever Instagram

March 1, 2020

Teenagers are young, inexperienced, and do anything for a laugh. Most of their time their antics result in trouble with horrible consequences, but this time the victim is Instagram. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for teenagers and, being a generation who never knew a world without the Internet, they figured out how to hack aka mess with the algorithm. CNET has the story about, “Teens Have Figured Out How To Mess With Instagram’s Tracking Algorithm.”

Teenagers may post their entire lives on social media, but some of them are concerned about social media platforms such as Instagram tracking their data. They especially do not like Instagram tracking them, so they formed a plan. Using groups of trusted friends with access to multiple accounts, teenagers are fooling Instagram. Here is how:

“First, make multiple accounts. You might have an Instagram account dedicated to you and friends, or another just for your hobby. Give access to one of these low-risk accounts to someone you trust.

Then request a password reset, and send the link to that trusted friend who’ll log on from a different device. Password resets don’t end Instagram sessions, so both you and the second person will be able to access the same account at the same time.

Finally, by having someone else post the photo, Instagram grabs metadata from a new, fresh device. Repeat this process with a network of, say, 20 users in 20 different locations with 20 different devices? Now you’re giving Instagram quite the confusing cocktail of data.”

The hilarious part is that while it is not against Instagram’s policies, the parent company Facebook advises against it because of security risks. While it is laughable that Facebook is worried about privacy, when that company and other collect user data to tailor Internet experiences with personalized ads. However, if one person on the Instagram account posted something malicious, the entire group is accountable.

In order to have access to one of these “hacking” accounts, users must follow strict rules. They must only post content that the original users approve, do not accept follow requests or follow others, and any violations results in dismissal from access.

Clever teens. Less clever Instagram and, by extension, the fun folks at Facebook.

Whitney Grace, March 1, 2020


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