Picture this, you’re having dinner with your best friend. You take a great selfie alongside your handcrafted cocktail and immediately post it to Instagram. An hour later, you check your Instagram page to find that your new post has only "liked" only 10 times.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that allowed you to see who has viewed your Instagram posts? Well, unfortunately, there isn’t such an app, despite what social media advertisements may claim.
If you come across an app that claims to let you see who is looking at your Instagram page, well that app is lying. Now there are a few apps that allow you to see who has unfollowed you on Instagram, however it is impossible for any app to track your followers. The reason being, Instagram’s application programming interface prohibits any app from providing that service.
Now you may be wondering what an application programming interface (or API for short) is. An API is what allows two apps to communicate with one another. APIs control what information can be shared across apps and what information remains private. This is why Instagram is capable of determining who is viewing your profile while other apps cannot.
In theory, it would be very helpful to see who is lurking on your Instagram page but in reality, it’s probably best that we don’t have this information at our fingertips. After all, do you really need to know if your crush or significant other is viewing your profile? Would that add value to your life? Probably not. In an age of instant gratification and information overload, it’s good that some things, even the simple things, remain a mystery.
Privacy and one way to monitor viewers
Now that we have busted the myth of Instagram tracking apps, let’s go over some of Instagram’s privacy features. Let’s start with Instagram’s story feature. In the summer of 2016, Instagram introduced users to its Stories feature. Stories allow users to create short, Snapchat-like videos that are available for viewing for a limited amount of time (typically 24 hours.) This feature has become a staple among Instagram users and fortunately for us Stories has some of the best privacy features within the Instagram app.
The Stories feature automatically follows the privacy settings of your Instagram account. For example, if your Instagram account is private, so are your stories. If your Instagram account is public, your stories can be viewed by anyone.
Unlike the standard Instagram post, you can view who is watching your stories. To do this, simply go to your profile and select your own Story. As your Story plays swipe up from the bottom of your screen. This will open a page displaying which users have viewed the pictures and videos in your Instagram Story.
For the Instagram users who are concerned with who can view their posts, your best option is to make your profile private. This will reduce your engagement with other Instagram users, however, it will allow you to choose who views your posts.
To make your Instagram profile private, tap on the profile icon in the lower menu of the app. Once you are viewing your profile page, select the gear icon at the top right of the screen. This button will open the Settings menu. Once in the Settings menu, select "Account Options" and then choose "Private Account." Voila!
Bottom line: We may not have the option to see who is viewing our Instagram page but with the app’s various privacy settings we can enjoy sharing our photos and videos with the people who matter most to us.