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A New Hack Reveals That Private Instagram Accounts Are Not So Private

Photo Credit: Pexels, energepic

There’s a constant battle over keeping your photos and posts private on social media – no matter how many times you update your privacy settings, Facebook and Instagram always change them (Facebook owns Instagram).

And now there’s a creepy work around where your followers can easily get your photos and videos and share them. It doesn’t matter if your account is public or private – your followers can distribute your pics and vids either way.

And that’s not supposed to be the case.

Photo Credit: Pexels, energepic

Here’s how the simple hack works

  1. Open up Google Chrome
  2. Go to the Instagram photo you would like to ‘rip’ the URL from
  3. Right click anywhere in the browser
  4. Click “INSPECT”
  5. A side bar will open. Click on “NETWORK” at the top tool bar of the sidebar.
  6. Click IMG

Photo Credit: Google Chrome, Nicole Flasco

Below this tool bar a list of several small thumbnails with apear. You can right click the IMG and copy the web address. I tried it and this is a valid fact.

According to BuzzFeed News, this is possible for public feeds, “private feeds and stories” and “can be viewed, downloaded, and shared publicly…”

Is this the same as taking screen shots of photos?

A Facebook spokesperson says yes.

“The behavior described here is the same as taking a screenshot of a friend’s photo on Facebook and Instagram and sharing it with other people. It doesn’t give people access to a person’s private account.”

The report says no.

“There is a difference between being able to screenshot a private image from a webpage and being able to easily publicly share the URL of that private image with un-authenticated users. These public URLs contain some basic info about the photo or video they link to, including details about how it was uploaded and photo dimensions. They also prove authenticity; you can’t fake one. Beyond this, deleted photos and videos are being stored and accessed on Facebook’s content delivery network after a person took an action to remove them from their profile.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The other issue with ripping the URL is traceability. All of your IG and Facebook data is hosted by the social media company’s content delivery network. Currently, Instagram tracks who sees your content. However, if someone grabs the URL, traceability is lost. Now your photos can be used without your permission, and you’d never even know they were floating around the internet.

We’ve all heard the news about Zuckerburg and the privacy issues Facebook has gone through in the past. He promised users that Facebook would shift to being a privacy focused network. So far, I’m not sure things have gotten better.

It this a flaw in Facebook’s security? Or is it unavoidable given internet browser permissions to view HTML? Let us know what you think!