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Instagram Is Secretly Sharing Your Activity. Here's How to Keep it Private

Instagram Is Secretly Sharing Your Activity. Here's How to Keep it Private

Picture of Claire Lancaster
Tech & Entrepreneurship Editor
Updated: 22 January 2018

Gone are the days when you could scroll through pictures of perfect salads and beautiful beaches while avoiding your friends in incognito peace.

Instagram has now added a ‘Last Active’ feature, showing friends the last time you logged in to the app.

If you’ve updated Instagram since December 2017, the feature will automatically show up in your direct message inbox. People you follow and who you have previously tagged or chatted with will be able to see when you were last online, whether you’ve read their messages and whether you’re replying, with ‘seen’ and ‘typing’ indicators appearing underneath messages.

While ‘last active’ features are already common on apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, some aren’t happy it’s coming to Insta.

Just to be clear, the app doesn’t show your activity to all of your followers – just the people you follow and who you’ve interacted with before. Still, for those of you who value privacy, love to leave people with read receipts or find the idea of people monitoring your activity a tad creepy, the good news is that you can easily disable the feature.

Your followers know what you've been up to | <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/bsMFZ1957Zg" target="_blank" rel="noopener">© Igor Miske/Unsplash</a>

Your followers know what you’ve been up to | © Igor Miske/Unsplash

To turn ‘Last Active’ off:

• Tap the bottom-right profile icon to get to your profile
• Open the app settings in the Options menu
(The three vertical buttons in the top right-hand corner of your own profile if you’re on Android, or the cog icon next to ‘Edit Profile’ on iOS)
• Scroll down to ‘Show Activity Status’ and slide to disable

That’s it!

The trade-off is that once you’ve disabled the feature, you won’t be allowed to see when your friends were last active either – which seems fair enough.

Looking for another way to protect your privacy online? Find out how to turn off location tracking on Facebook and Snap.