Download your Instagram data and delete your account

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Take your data with you.
Take your data with you.

Image: GETTY IMAGES/INSTAGRAM/MASHABLE

So you’ve deleted your Facebook account and feel pretty good about it. But there’s still that nagging feeling, that itch in the back of your mind, insisting quietly yet forcefully that you haven’t escaped Mark Zuckerberg’s data-slurping maw just yet. 

That would be Instagram. To be truly (well, sort of) free, you know deep down that you must delete Instagram, too. Thankfully, the company was just compelled (hat tip, GDPR) to release a new feature which enables you to download a bunch of your data — making sure you don’t have to leave empty handed when you walk out that social-media door.

The feature was released earlier this week, and is relatively straightforward to enact. That doesn’t mean it’s transparent, however. To download your data, you must first request a download link. You do that by heading on over to the Instagram data-download page on your web browser, logging into your account, and requesting a link be emailed to you. 

“Get a Copy of What You’ve Shared on Instagram,” reads the page. “We’ll email you a link to a file with your photos, comments, profile information and more. We can only work on one request from your account at a time, and it may take up to 48 hours to collect this data and send it to you.”

Now, there is one key part of that statement which needs parsing. Mainly, Instagram says it’s only going to give you a copy of what you’ve shared. In other words, not the complete horde of data the company has collected on you — just what you’ve intentionally shared with the site. 

There’s also the question of what exactly “and more” means. This reporter downloaded an Instagram account’s data and found that it included everything from a list of all the posts you’ve liked, to long-deleted photos, to random account settings, to a list of who you’re following and your followers.  

The cherished data.

The cherished data.

It does not include, for example, a record of all the devices you’ve used to access your account, the times you’ve accessed your account, or other metadata that Instagram is likely collecting. 

Facebook, too, doesn’t truly give you all of the data it has on you when you download your account information. It gives you a lot, but as Wired reported, there’s plenty that’s not included in Facebook’s “download your data.”

None of that should stop you from deleting your account, however. 

When that download-your-data link does come through, download it then delete your account. We promise you’ll feel better when you’ve kicked both Big Brother and his creepy little sibling to the curb. 

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