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In my Instagram app I don't log in with Facebook (my accounts are not linked and have never been) but somehow Instagram is showing me contacts from Facebook and presumably showing my contacts my account.

  • Is this due to the email I signed up with Instagram?
  • Will I have to create a new email account to reclaim my privacy?
  • Any solution to prevent this unauthorized information leak from Facebook to Instagram?

I don't want to make my account private, I just have a different audience for my art. Even on Private the app still crawls my Facebook and encourages me to "invite" from a creepy list of Facebook contacts.

  • 3
    Facebook owns Instagram. This type of contact sharing may be included in the Instagram TOS (Terms of Service) at this point. – Folk Aug 17 '17 at 16:09
  • I signed up to Facebook and Instagram separately, using separate email addresses. I never talked about my Instagram account (except to a small subgroup of friends, some of whom I also have as Facebook friends). Yet I get a lot of follows from totally unrelated Facebook friends living on the other side of the Earth. Very creepy. I installed both apps on my smartphone and sometimes use both websites in the same Chromium desktop browser, that might be the reason? – nic Jan 18 '18 at 10:26
  • From my comment above we can deduce that the answer to "* Is this due to the email I signed up with Instagram?*" is no they don't even need it, and the answer to "Will I have to create a new email account to reclaim my privacy?" is no that's not enough. So another solution is needed. – nic Jan 18 '18 at 10:31
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Below is an excerpt from Instagram's privacy policy as it stood at the time this question was posted. The full policy can be found at https://www.instagram.com/legal/privacy/

Beginning of Instagram Privacy Policy excerpt

In September 2012, we announced that Instagram had been acquired by Facebook. We knew that by teaming up with Facebook, we could build a better Instagram for you. Since then, we've been collaborating with Facebook's team on ways to do just that. As part of our new collaboration, we've learned that by being able to share insights and information with each other, we can build better experiences for our users. [...]

  • [...]When you use our Service, our servers automatically record certain log file information, including your web request, Internet Protocol ("IP") address, browser type, referring / exit pages and URLs, number of clicks and how you interact with links on the Service, domain names, landing pages, pages viewed, and other such information. [...]
  • Log file information is automatically reported by your browser each time you make a request to access (i.e., visit) a web page or app. It can also be provided when the content of the webpage or app is downloaded to your browser or device.
  • When you use a mobile device like a tablet or phone to access our Service, we may access, collect, monitor, store on your device, and/or remotely store one or more "device identifiers." Device identifiers are small data files or similar data structures stored on or associated with your mobile device, which uniquely identify your mobile device. A device identifier may be data stored in connection with the device hardware, data stored in connection with the device's operating system or other software, or data sent to the device by Instagram.
  • A device identifier may deliver information to us or to a third party partner about how you browse and use the Service and may help us or others provide reports or personalized content and ads. [...]
  • [..] We may share User Content and your information (including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data, and usage data) with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of, or that become part of that group ("Affiliates"). Affiliates may use this information to help provide, understand, and improve the Service (including by providing analytics) and Affiliates' own services (including by providing you with better and more relevant experiences). But these Affiliates will honor the choices you make about who can see your photos.

End of Instagram Privacy Policy excerpt


Essentially this means that Facebook and Instagram have ways of determining that you are the owner of both your Instagram account and your Facebook account and they don't need to rely on your email address being the same for both accounts.

By signing up for Instagram you gave consent for them to collect your IP address and any device identifiers and to share this information with Facebook because they are the same group of companies. Facebook and Instagram may have more ways to establish a link between your accounts but this explains why they have linked your accounts without using your email. You could attempt to only access a new Instagram account with a different device and from a different Internet connection but without knowing exactly how the accounts have been linked there is no way to know if that will work.

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