Have you ever wondered why you get the specific ads about things you were thinking about earlier on Instagram? Or maybe you mentioned a product in a conversation, and Instagram immediately started throwing its ad at you? With how fast the technology is evolving, it is no surprise that platforms like Instagram and Facebook collect extensive data and information about you.
From things you say to your usage habits, the algorithms of such applications develop an understanding of your personality and your buying pattern. It then uses all the data that is collected from multiple different places to predict your next purchase.
But users are freaked out by the fact that all their activity is tracked for obvious reasons. In fact, you must have found yourself here wondering how do I stop Instagram from tracking my web browsing as it is the most private thing one could do online.
Fortunately, you’ve landed on the right page!
How Does Instagram Works
As already mentioned, Instagram, along with other popular social media apps, is known for tracking information about you. The information can be in the form of location, photos, or web browsing history. The data that these apps collect is then used to provide you with relevant ads and suggestions.
The data that Instagram collects from users to enhance their in-app experience are as follows:
Access Your Location
Instagram gives you the option to add your location every time you post a picture or story. As you turn on the location and allow Instagram to access your GPS, the app broadcasts where you are as you post photos, as well as gives your location data to data collection agencies.
So, as long as you have your device’s location turned on, Instagram knows where you are.
Access Your Media
When you first install an app, be it Instagram or Facebook, you have to provide it access to your phone’s media. This allows you to simply share photos and videos from your device on Instagram.
However, there is no option to restrict the app’s access to only the photos you want. So, after you’ve granted Instagram permission, it can effortlessly acquire all of your phone’s media.
Access Your Contacts
Similar to your phone’s videos and photos, Instagram also asks for your phone’s contacts access when you first download it. If you allow contact syncing, all your device’s contacts will be synced into the app. You can then easily find and follow your friends and acquaintances through the Instagram app.
Tracks Your In-App Activity
Everything you like, comment on, answer a friend’s story poll, or search for is saved in the Instagram app. This in-app activity helps Instagram send relevant ads to you. Instagram even lets you access this activity.
You can do so by going to the hamburger menu icon from your profile tab. Afterward, tap on Your activity to view your account history, interactions, recent searches, links you’ve visited, etc. Not only that, but you can also download all the information you’ve shared with the Instagram app by tapping on Download Your Information.
Hears Your Conversation
Instagram also acquires your microphone access by default. Many users have also reported receiving ads on Instagram related to what they previously talked about. However, according to the Instagram CEO, the app doesn’t use data collected from your microphone to show ads.
So, if you’re receiving ads about what you’ve just talked about, it may be just a coincidence, but one can never be so sure.
Gathers Your Web Browsing History
Aside from gathering in-app data, Instagram also collects your history from non-Facebook applications. This also includes your web browsing history. Facebook looks into the sites you visit to understand your interests. But that’s not where it stops. It also tracks your activity on these websites and services to display relevant ads on Instagram.
How Does Instagram Track Your Web Browsing (Facebook Pixels)
If you’re an old Instagram user, you must have noticed the changes in the amount of Instagram ads ever since Facebook took over the platform. The owners are clearly trying to make more money but at the cost of a peaceful user experience.
Since Facebook is the parent company here, your information saved on both applications plus data collected from everywhere else is used to provide you with a more personalized experience.
Explicitly talking about your activity on web browsers and services, Facebook uses a piece of code called Facebook Pixels. The code is available on almost all the websites you may visit. It gathers data about your activity on the site and links it to an identifier. The data is further fed into the bigger advertising machine of the company to determine the kind of ads that’ll be shown.
Now, of course, not all are content with the fact that they’re constantly being watched and would prefer to browse without their information being saved. Continue reading to learn whether you have control over the data Instagram and Facebook use, and if so, how to change it.
How To Stop Instagram From Tracking My Web Browsing
Below are a few methods in detail for those who are wondering how do I stop Instagram from tracking my web browsing. In short, you may do so by disabling the Off-Facebook activity tracker, limiting app tracking, downloading browser extensions, and using block tracker services.
1. Disable Off-Facebook Activity.
One way that Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, tracks your device even when you’re not using the app is through the Off-Facebook Activity tracker. So, if you’re asking yourself how do I stop Instagram from tracking my web browsing, your best option is to disable this tracker.
Since Instagram is also managed by Facebook, and your data is shared between the two apps if you’ve connected them, disabling this feature will ultimately stop Instagram from keeping a check on your recent activity.
To disable it, follow these steps from your phone:
- Head to the Facebook app from your device.
- Next, tap on the horizontal bar menu from the top-right corner of your screen.
- After that, click on the Gear icon to access Facebook settings.
- Tap on the Search icon located at the upper-right corner of your screen. Then, type ‘Off-Facebook activity’ and select the same from the results.
- From this screen, you have the option to select the specific activity that you’d like to disconnect by tapping on Select activity to disconnect.
- Furthermore, tap on Clear History to remove all your Off-Facebook activity history. Also, don’t forget to select Disconnect future history to prevent Facebook from acquiring more information.
2. Limit App-Tracking on Your Phone.
Since the release of iOS 14.5, Apple has been informing users about apps that track their activities, as well as requiring these apps to request permission before tracking. Facebook and Instagram are among the many apps on this list.
Hence, if you’re wondering how do I stop Instagram from tracking my web browsing, another way to do it is by changing the app permission settings. This way, Instagram won’t be able to track your in-app activity, including your browsing history.
If you’re an iPhone owner, here’s what you need to do:
- Start by going to the Settings app from your device.
- Next, tap on Privacy.
- Afterward, select Tracking.
- Turn the toggle off for Allow Apps to Request to Track. This will deny any newly installed apps from tracking your activity.
Keep in mind that this method is only workable with Apple devices. Although Google announced a feature like this to be made available by 2021 to Android devices, we’re still waiting for it to be released as of now.
3. Install Browser Extensions.
It will be nothing less than a relief to find out that all web browsers not only differ from one another on the basis of their interface but also on the amount of privacy they provide to users. The most popular choice among web surfers is Google Chrome. Unfortunately, its developers offer no feature to block companies like Facebook and Instagram from tracking your activity across the browser.
Mozilla Firefox, on the other hand, is a relatively safer option. While they do not block the activity entirely, they do prevent website tracking to some extent. You may also use browsers like Brave, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. They are by far the best selection when it comes to data protection and safe browsing.
However, if you are wondering how do I stop Instagram from tracking my web browsing completely, you should install browser extensions especially designed for the purpose. One such extension available on Firefox is Facebook Container. As the name suggests, it puts Facebook in a container or a special virtual tab where it can no longer interact with other websites.
4. Use Block Tracker Services.
Apple has always been one step ahead when it comes to user privacy. Similar to how web browsers offer extensions, iPhones provide special services like Disconnect Privacy’s Pro and Lockdown Privacy that take a step further in blocking Instagram trackers on sites and apps. Unfortunately, such services are not available on the Google Play Store for Android users as of yet.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs):
1. How to permanently delete Instagram history?
To delete Instagram history, launch the app and go to your profile tab. Then tap on the menu icon and choose Your activity. From there, go to Recent Searches. Finally, remove your entire search history at once and tap on the Clear All option located at the top right corner of your screen.
2. Can your Instagram account be traced?
Yes, your Instagram account can be easily traced. Like all other social media platforms, your Instagram uses a unique IP address to post media on your account. Hence, you can use IP location services, such as IP2Location, to figure out the location of your IP address.
Bottom Line: How Do I Stop Instagram From Tracking My Web Browsing
Now that you know the answer to how do I stop Instagram from tracking my web browsing, you can easily follow the methods provided in this guide to do so. Since Facebook owns Instagram, a few ways in which you can block Instagram from tracking your browsing history is through Facebook settings.
If you have any more questions, let us know by utilizing the comments section below. We’ll be more than happy to provide further assistance.
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