2020 has witnessed a lot of talks about privacy, user data or messages that Facebook or WhatsApp can access, WhatsApp’s and Instagram’s terms of services slated for 2021, etc. It is no secret that Facebook studies user behaviour to track what the users are viewing so that it can show them ads according to their interests, also known as the identifier for advertisers (IDFA).
Instagram on its help pages notes that it does not charge its users for using its services. However, it keeps track of user’s usernames, profile pictures, and information about their actions (such as likes) or relationships (such as follows) next to or in connection with accounts, ads, offers, and other sponsored content that they follow or engage with that are displayed on Facebook Products, without any compensation to users.
If you want to stop giving away your data for free, you can permanently delete your Instagram account or if you want to take a break from the social media platform, (which seems difficult given the addictive nature of the app), you can do so by temporarily deactivating your account.
You will need to log into Instagram from a computer for both purposes. You can only disable your Instagram account from a computer or mobile browser. You cannot temporarily disable your account from within the Instagram app.
To temporarily disable your Instagram account:
- Log in to instagram.com from a computer.
- Click your profile picture in the top right and click Profile, then click Edit Profile.
- Scroll down, then click ‘temporarily disable my account’ in the bottom right.
- Select an option from the drop-down menu next to Why are you disabling your account? and re-enter your password. The option to disable your account will only appear after you’ve selected a reason from the menu and entered your password.
- Click temporarily disable account.
Temporarily disabling your account will hide your profile, photos, comments, and likes until you reactivate it by logging back in. Temporarily deactivating an Instagram account is easier than completely deleting your account, which requires you to put in a request to Instagram first. After 90 days of putting in a request, the platform completely deletes your account.
When you delete your account, your profile, photos, videos, comments, likes, and followers will be permanently removed. After your account is deleted, you cannot sign up again with the same username or add that username to another account.
To request permanent deletion of your Instagram account:
- Log into Instagram on a web browser or computer.
- Go to the Delete Your Account page.
- Select an option from the dropdown menu next to ‘Why are you deleting your account?’ and re-enter your password. The option to permanently delete your account will only appear after you’ve selected a reason from the menu.
- Click or tap Permanently delete my account.
Instagram notes that after 30 days of your account deletion request, your account and all your information will be permanently deleted, and you will not be able to retrieve your information. It may take up to 90 days from the beginning of the deletion process to delete all the things you have posted and this information is not accessible to other people using Instagram.
Instagram further notes that copies of your information may remain after the 90 days in backup storage that the platform uses to recover in the event of a disaster, software error, or other data loss even or for things like legal issues, terms violations, or harm prevention efforts.