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Published on February 24th, 2013 | by Mark

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Instagram

An online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services.

Start Snapping

To create an Instagram account you have to have an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet device that is compatible with the Instagram app.  The only way to register for your own Instagram is by first downloading the app onto your device, tap on the Instagram icon and follow the instructions for setting up an account.  It is not possible to sign up on Instagram.com, this website gives access to existing users only.

You will be reminded to confirm the account with email and set up a password eventually.  Instagram’s password policy appears to be very lax. Only five characters are needed for the password to be accepted, and there seems to be no need to include a of mix of cases, numerals or symbols.

How Safe Are Your Pics?

Instagram doesn’t offer users any sophisticated secure access tools beyond their password.  You cannot switch on https browsing from your account settings page and a two-step verification system is not present yet.

Changing Security Settings

You can access all settings related to your Instagram account’s security by clicking on your username at the top-right of the screen and clicking on ‘Edit Profile’ from the drop-down menu.  On the settings page, you can use the tabs on the left-hand menu to edit your account’s password and manage any applications that you connected to your Instagram account.

You Personal Data On Instagram

Instagram may share some of the personal data you provide with third parties such as affiliates that help provide and improve the service and other third-party organizations that help provide the functionalities Instagram offers to users.  The information must be processed according to Instagram’s privacy policy in the case of affiliates, and under similar terms of confidentiality by other third parties.  Instagram can also share certain information with third-party advertising partners that allows them to deliver targeted advertisements that will be of most interest to you.

Saying Goodbye

To permanently delete your Instagram account, go to your account settings page by clicking on your username at the top-right of the screen and then clicking ‘Edit Profile’.  On the Edit Profile tab you’ll find  ‘I’d like to delete my account’ link at the bottom of the page.  Click on the link and you’ll initiate the process to close down your Instagram account.

You have to select a reason for deleting your account from the the list of reasons given in the drop-down menu before continuing.  Once you select your reason, Instagram informs you of the consequence of this action and asks you to input your password again.  After entering your password, click on the red ‘Permanently deactivate my account’ button at the bottom of the page.  By pressing the button, your photos, comments, likes, friendships, and all other data will be removed permanently and will not be recoverable.  Additionally, you cannot sign up with the same username again.

Look Who’s Watching

Although Instagram is a very popular service among users, it has fortunately been out of hackers’ sight.  There were no public confirmations of the site having experienced some major security breach so far.

Sharing Your Instagram

When you use Instagram, personal information may be shared with third party applications you connect to your account.  The use of third party apps is subject to the terms of use and privacy policies of these third party developers.  Instagram suggests that users should review the policies of third party apps and websites before deciding whether to authorise access to their accounts.

Looking After Your Data

There are no specific tools available to help Instagram users to track the security of their information.

Instagram however offers the possibility to review any applications that you have authorised to access your account’s information and revoke authorisation if necessary from the account settings page.

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