Instagram and staying private

Discuss various technical topics not related to Mozilla.

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Joined: August 29th, 2017, 12:39 am

Post Posted June 20th, 2020, 3:40 am

Hello everybody,

For a while now I've been trying to solve this issue I have, now that people without an Instagram account cannot view the posts anymore. I follow a few artists to see what they've been creating, so it's quite important for me to be able to see their posts. I am posting my questions here because I don't know where else to ask it and it partly involves Firefox.

A few solutions have been posted online to still view Instagram without an account but they either worked but not anymore or they don't work at all. If you know of one which does work, please share it with me. That would be the easiest way. But I believe IG has shut down all possibilities now. Also, the "indirect" IG view sites like Imgtagram don't work any longer.

So I'm thinking of creating an IG account. :shock: But what is the best way to stay as private as possible? These are my questions:

1. Creating a fake IG account with a fake email address seems to be the most private option but what do these sites providing the fake addresses do with my visit there?

2. What if I create a "normal" IG account with one of my own email addresses? Does IG do anything with my email address or are they just interested in collecting data from my surfing online and selling them?

3. I just installed the Containers feature on FF as it seems to be very useful for certain websites. Creating a Container for my IG account would prohibit IG to snoop on my other tabs. So wouldn't that be the best idea? Somebody involved in advocating internet freedom suggested to use IG as an only tab in a different browser than my usual beloved FF, but the Container option would solve that, right?

4. I have Proton VPN (love it, highly recommended) but that doesn't help once I'm logged in. So IG at least can see my IP address. What else can they see? I searched for information about that but I cannot find anything.

5. As I've never had an IG account I'm not sure how that works but I guess that I would have to post some unidentifiable things to make it look real. Also, I suppose I shouldn't like or comment on any other IG accounts? Other suggestions?

Well, this is what I have come up with myself. I hope someone with more privacy and IG knowledge can help me out here.

As always, grateful for your attention and help.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

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Joined: September 1st, 2020, 12:20 pm

Post Posted September 1st, 2020, 12:24 pm

This is late but I have been facing the same problems with Instagram recently. Its sad Facebook is starting to wall off their platform - they can only get away with it because of there massive network effect.

1. Use a anonymous gmail or a account to sign up for Instagram - if yo are using a VPN it will set off the phone number verification. A Google voice number works fine - but if you dont like google there are many other options out there for a anonymous phone number

2. Facebook/IG is more than a social network. It is a network dedicated to finding out everything about you, so they will try to collect as much info as possible.

3. A container is good for Facebook stuff - I recommend it but a different browser is always better. I recommend using Pale Moon for Instagram but thats just me.

4. They can actually see alot of things - look into browser fingerprinting, cookies, JS, etc.

5. You dont have to post anything on your account - but likes and comments will obviously tip off the other person. They other person will also know if they viewed their stories, just a FYI if you didnt know.

N.B - Facebook owns Instagram if you didn't already know.

Glad to help answer any other questions you may have


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Post Posted September 1st, 2020, 2:12 pm

Thank you, longliveseamonkey, for your extensive answer. That's wonderful. I will look into your suggestions further. A few remarks/questions:

1. I have several Outlook email addresses. I could create another one just for IG and I think I can get around the verification thing without having to use a fake phone number by not using a code but a second email address. So no phake phone number needed.

3. I recently installed Iridium as a backup browser. Seems okay.

4. Wow, that's quite a lot. More than I thought. Scary. By JS I assume you mean JavaScript?

5. Did you mean the other person can see if I (you wrote 'they', so that's a little confusing) viewed their stories, I mean, only viewed? Crazy. But a fake name won't give away anything other than that, will it? To the other person, I mean. And are you referring to the IG stories or all content? I have to add that I'm still not sure what these IG stories entail as I've never been able to view those. Do people create their stories or does IG do that for them?

Yes, I know IG = FB.

But now for the good news! Meanwhile I found another way to view IG without an account. This is similar to Imtagram. As far as I understood (I'm not a native speaker of English) this site keeps creating new proxies (is that the right word?). The trick is to not view the IGs all the time as the proxy stops working for a while after a certain number of searches. Hope that comes across right, lol. So this one still works for me (although you cannot see the comments): ...

Hope it works for you too, so we can have it the easy way. :D
Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

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Joined: September 1st, 2020, 12:20 pm

Post Posted September 1st, 2020, 3:38 pm

Glad I can help.

1. Good thing, using outlook is probably a better choice than, but I was able to use my ( email domain just fine.

3. Heard of it but dont know too much about it other than that its based off Chrome. Hope you like it.

4. Yes. I have been involved with/studied the development of various social networks. ALL of them track your usage, to even the little things like what color of button you press, how long you look at a post, device information. Heck, Facebook saved your posts before you even clicked send! (You can thank Javascript for that). If you dont use uBlock origin or similar with the FB block filter, Instagram will know almost every website you visit. Since the Facebook JS on external sites is not free (as in freedom), I can even go out here and say the FB script can track everything you do on the website and what you enter there. Of course, this is unproven, but the fact that it doesn't is also unproven.

5. Yes. (I think the "they" was a spelling mistake) This has been a standard feature of Instagram for years (hence why Biblogram can not read stories because there is no account). This is also why you couldn't read stories even before the great locking down of Instagram happened. I am referring just to IG stories - everything else will not notify the poster you saw it (but of course, a like or comment will imply you saw the post). Keep in mind likes a public meaning someone else than the poster can know if you liked something.

When you look at a story, the person who posted it can see your username, full name (if there is one for your account), post count, profile image, following count, and follower count. If your profile is public they can also see your posts and comments. They can also block you from viewing their whole ACCOUNT if they choose to. If this happens you need to create a new account or get unblocked.

A story is a ephemeral post, similar to what Snapchat has and what Usenet and mailing discussions were like before archives appeared. Like the others, the story is available for view a certain amount of time (usually 24 hours) before it "disappears" off their "storyboard". However, unlike mailing lists and newsgroups, the poster always knows who exactly has seen their story.

I used to be a happy Instagram user but no more. I now spend most of my "social media" time on Usenet and mailing lists, which are uncensored and not controlled by a specific company. Also, these forms of "social media" are highly privacy-respecting. (no Usenet and mailing lists are not dead; just because someone doesn't use them doesn't mean its dead).

I know about biblogram. As for biblogram itself it was literally perfect before Instagram made it so only certain IPs could see posts without an account. Now I get a quota exceeded error when I use biblogram, but maybe thats because I am on a VPN. When I use it I also cant see other info like followers/following and comments/who liked what, so I find myself bouncing between biblogram and normal instagram.

>Windows NT 6.1
The last great version of windows.


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Post Posted September 9th, 2020, 4:20 am

Excuse my delayed response. Buried in work.

In my first post I mentioned I'm on a VPN as well. I don't think that alters anything about the IG restrictions, either positive or negative.

I'm so grateful for your detailed answer, really. Now I know so much more how it works 'behind the scenes' and I must say my willingness to start using IG with an account has dropped to about zero, lol. Up until now Bibliogram through that git-site works perfectly. I restricted my views to once every few days/once a week and have had no problems anymore with the limited amount of views (am using the pussthecat one now). Also noticed that I can see the IGTV too, besides the timeline, which I couldn't see in the old days without an account, so that's a plus. I don't remember if the IGTV was there when I started out with Bibliogram. I guess I overlooked that. So this way is cool for me. Also, I do believe that more social media platforms which aren't privacy-invasive and rapacious will arise in the near future, so I'll wait for those. I'm getting less and less interested in these things anyway. Better things to do with my time. :D

So thanks a lot once again, longliveseamonkey! That was very helpful. <3
Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

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