Switching My Instagram Account to Private Made a World of Difference

Switching My Instagram Account to Private Made a World of Difference

Key Takeaways

  • Following an attempted scam, I switched my Instagram to private and found many benefits.
  • Having a private account means you can control who follows you and what they can see.
  • You can also stop bots and AI from scraping your data and trying to scam you.

I switched my Instagram account from public to private: it was easy to do and I noticed plenty of ways it has made my experience on the platform better.

If you want to be an influencer, you won’t want to make your social media accounts private. But few people really want to start trending. If you’d prefer to go under the radar and only have a profile that approved friends can view and interact with, going private is the answer.

Why I Switched to a Private Instagram Profile

I changed my public Instagram profile to a private one because someone was trying to scam me. This certainly isn’t the only reason to do so, but it’s a compelling one, especially as the situation I found myself in could happen to anyone. It’s better to prepare for this and get a step ahead than shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

When it became obvious that a scammer was targeting me, thoughts naturally turned to finances. Fortunately, things hadn’t got that far yet, but the cybercriminal knew my social media handles already, so that was the next port of call.

Why? Because there’s a wealth of personal information on our social media profiles. Yes, there’s the potential for blackmail or another form of cyber-extortion, but apart from that, there’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) too. PII is the scraps of data we leave behind, and all that can add up so that any stranger can build a surprisingly accurate picture of you.

Luckily, it’s a simple process to switch to a private Instagram account.

How Switching to a Private Account Changed My Instagram Experience


After coming so close to falling victim to a scammer, changing my Instagram to a private account made me feel more secure. It gave me peace of mind.

But if you’re lucky, you won’t get scammed. So what’s the point of going private? There are, of course, many other reasons to switch your public accounts to private, whether on Instagram or another social platform. Here’s how it made a big difference to my social media experience.

I Can Control Who Follows Me on Instagram

When I switched my account to private, I became directly responsible for who follows me. I have to vet any followers’ requests. But with a public account, anyone could follow me—including complete strangers.

This is essentially about limiting who has access to my data. Try it yourself: go through your profile and you might be shocked to learn how much information you spread publicly. First and foremost, your Instagram is full of photos of you. Those pictures likely include your friends too; perhaps your family as well.

Any followers can also check out my followers and who I’m following. By doing so, they can find out my interests and real-life connections.

I try to limit what info I share when I’m on vacation too because any photos uploaded during that time signal to strangers that I’m away from home. At least by going private, I’ve limited that further.

I Can Make Sure Bots Don’t Follow Me

After going private, I get notifications whenever someone tries to follow me. Or I can go on my profile and click on Followers > Follow requests. From there, I can see a list of who wants to connect with me and can click Confirm or Delete on each. Or I can leave them waiting while I decide.

Similarly, I can see Accounts you don’t follow back, which gives me an insight into who I’ve allowed to follow me but who I’m not interested enough in to return the favor.

This means I can see all the bot accounts trying to follow me. More often than not, their profile photos will be of attractive women and their bios will include links—do not click on them, as these might download malware. They could also be accounts involved in click farming—generating traffic primarily for fraudulent reasons.

Bots stand out immediately when you go private as they’re generally obvious. If you’re unsure of what to look for, check out our guide on malicious social media bots and how to spot them.

I Can Stop AI From Scraping My Data

Artificial intelligence has been scanning the internet for years, which is why apps like ChatGPT are both useful and scary. My information is being utilised by third parties already. So is yours. AI means the amount of info that can be used against you is available to interested parties in a heartbeat.

How? AI trawls social media sites and then presents “shadow profiles” to third parties. Even worse, public photos could be used to create deepfakes. But I’ve protected myself from some AI programs, and you can too.

By switching your Instagram account to a private one, you create a wall that artificial intelligence has to breach before getting to your information. This is especially vital if you live in the US: unlike people in the EU, American users aren’t given the option to opt out of AI data training on platforms like Facebook.

But it’s not foolproof: some AI can get into private accounts, but it’s an extra hurdle that might put some apps off, especially when so many other easier targets are available.

I Can Hide Anything Embarrassing From Potential Employers

Wasan Tita/Shutterstock

I think I’m pretty vigilant when it comes to sharing things online. I try to limit anything that I might regret posting. Nonetheless, Facebook Memories shows me statuses and photos of bygone years and I find myself cringing.

So I’m forced to ask myself: what if I go to a job interview and the person questioning me has seen photos of nights out or silly things I’ve put on captions? They shouldn’t judge me—after all, we’ve all got some embarrassing events documented online—but I can’t guarantee that.

By making my Instagram private, I’ve stopped not just strangers from finding out about me, but also people who I either know well or intend to know better. It also signals to employers that I take security seriously, which should be a big relief to them given the sensitive information that some employees are given access to.

I’m More Aware of My Public Persona

Going private doesn’t hide everything. It’s not going to make all my social media problems go away. But it is a good start.

I comment on other people’s posts. It’s only natural. But if that person’s account is public, so too is my comment. That came as a shock to me: just because I’ve gone private, that doesn’t mean everything is private.

Those bot accounts we talked about earlier? They might’ve found me via comments or likes on a public account. The same can happen to you. The important step here, however, is that you’re recognizing your digital footprint. Seeing how far your online influence goes is an eye-opening and worrying experience, yet it’s also essential.

You can only limit your digital reach if you can first note down the marks you make on the internet.

This should help put up barriers between yourself and your online, public persona. We all know that we put too much information online, but seeing this for yourself is a massive step in regaining your privacy and security.

Switching to a private Instagram account changed my experience on the platform. These are just some of the benefits you can expect.

Originally Appeared Here