Final update: Folks, just ignore this entire post. Apparently I’m an idiot when it comes to technology. Find me on Instagram @allspiceabounds. 🙂
Today I’m going to put myself out there and ask a few potentially dumb questions about Instagram. I am probably the last person on earth not to jump on the Instagram bandwagon, and I realize that I’m missing out on a lot of awesome sewing-related stuff that happens there. Technically I have an account, but I’ve never actually used it. Sewing friends, perhaps you can clear up some of my concerns.
The biggest factor holding me back is privacy. As far as I can tell, you have to turn on your device’s “location” feature in order to install and use the Instragram app. Am I understanding this correctly? If so, this is enough to prevent me from using the service. I always keep the location feature turned off on my laptop and phone in an attempt to hold on to one of the last shreds of online privacy offered to us. I realize that I can be tracked to within a short distance of my actual location based on my phone pinging off cell phone towers, but I don’t believe I can be tracked to my exact GPS coordinates if my location feature is turned off. Please correct me if I’m wrong though – I admit to being somewhat uninformed about how these things work.
My issue with the location feature is safety. As a woman living in an urban area, I take my personal safety pretty seriously. (Who doesn’t, right?) Just within the last 2 weeks, I’ve been a few blocks away from a stabbing incident, a shooting incident, and a sexual assualt. And these are just the instances I’m aware of. I feel pretty strongly about keeping my exact location at any given time as private as I can, with the understanding that my ability to do so while using online services is already quite limited.
Friends, can you help me with these questions?
- Is turning your location feature on required to use Instagram?
- If so, do all your photos get geo-tagged?
- Who has access to this information?
- Can I turn my location feature off after installing the app and use Instagram without providing location information?
- Do you have any concerns about the location-based aspects of Instagram, or am I just being paranoid?
Thanks in advance for any information or advice you can offer. While I’d like to join the Instagram sewing community, I want to make sure I understand exactly what that entails.
Edited to add:
Here’s what I get when I try to install Instagram on my phone. Note that I have a Windows phone, and Instagram is only available in beta format for this device. Perhaps turning your location on is only required for the Windows app?
Edited to add (again):
It seems like the Instagram location requirement may be specific to the Microsoft/Windows platform, and in fact is a blanket requirement for nearly all Windows apps. Check out this forum post and this follow-up for details. Based on my own research, it also seems to apply to third-party Instagram apps for both Windows phones and Windows-based PCs. Needless to say, this is pretty sketchy and annoying. This also explains why most people don’t have to turn on location services to use Instagram but we suckers who purchased Windows phones do. Oh well! I refuse to turn my location on, so Instagram will just have to carry on without me. 🙂 Thanks to all for your help and info on this.