How to Tell if Someone is Stalking You On Instagram
Social media is exactly that, social. If you’re online, you’re in the public eye, and people taking an interest in you is the cost of doing business online. That said, there’s a difference between actively engaging with you, being curious and checking you out, and stalking.
Think someone is stalking you on Instagram? Think someone might have a secret crush on you and is following you online? Want to know if someone is taking a little too much interest in what you do on social media?
This tutorial will show you how to tell if someone is either watching but not engaging or just lurking on your Instagram.
Unfortunately, your options are limited for finding out if someone is constantly viewing your Instagram profile. There isn’t much feedback from the social network about what’s going on, who viewed what, or when someone views your profile. Your only option is Instagram Stories which, like its Snapchat progenitor, tells you who viewed it.
Instagram Stories: The Only Way to Know Who’s Watching
Instagram Stories are essentially a copy of Snapchat Stories, and they work in almost the same way. You create a post, set it as a Story, and then it becomes public for 24 hours before it disappears.
You select someone’s profile in the app to see their stories, and they do the same to see yours. Just like Snapchat, Instagram Stories tell you who has viewed your Story.
- You can swipe up from within one of your own Instagram Stories to see who has viewed it.
The screen shows the username of each person that saw the Story at hand. While not confirmed, some believe that the order in which names appear indicates how often they have viewed it. Of course, Instagram has never confirmed this, but it’s an interesting theory.
Essentially, your first stop should be your Instagram Stories. If you’ve published one of the short clips, you can see who is checking out your content.
Catching the Instagram Stalker
Instagram Stories are the only way to find out who is engaging with your content. Instagram Analytics tells professional account owners how many people watched, but they don’t disclose the account viewing your posts. So, there is one workaround method that we’ve come up with for snuffing out your stalker.
When you post an Instagram Story, you have the option to hide it from others. This situation is different from the “Close Friends” list that alerts users that you’ve shared it with certain people.
Assuming you have a suspicion that someone is stalking your content, post a Story, and hide it from everyone else on your list.
- Before posting your Story, go to the Instagram Story Settings and select the option to “Hide Story From.” Select everyone but the person of interest. Doing this means they won’t know that they’re the only person who can see the Story.
- Not only will you see that they viewed it, but if you’re using Instagram Analytics, you can also watch the view count increase each time they do. If they watch the Story multiple times, you’ll know it was them because they’re the only person who has access to it.
Unfortunately, this is the best way we know how to see whether or not someone is actively seeking out your content to watch over and over again. If you don’t have Instagram’s Analytics setup, this will only tell you if they watched it.
Other Ways to Test if Someone is Stalking You on Instagram
Aside from showing who has viewed your Instagram Story, there is no other way to tell what’s happening within the app. Snapchat offers a lot more information on who is doing what, but Instagram does not.
So, if nobody leaves a comment or engages with you in another way, you’re in the dark, or are you?
Using Third-Party Apps to Spot an Instagram Stalker
There are a lot of third-party applications, browser extensions, and websites that promise to show you who is viewing your profile. Many of these do not work, while others require access to your private information for nefarious purposes.
Although there may be some legitimate resources out there, users should beware of the dangers of using such a service. Read the reviews and do your research on the developer before signing up for anything.
Handling Stalking on Instagram
There isn’t much you can do if you think someone is stalking you on Instagram. As long as they aren’t making threats or seriously bothering you in any way, they aren’t doing anything legally wrong. This fact is the price of social media. You’re out there for all to see, and people can do whatever they want with the information you post online.
Changing Instagram Privacy Settings
If your suspicion is getting the better of you, you can change some privacy settings on Instagram to stop the person from following you around on the network.
- Launch the Instagram App.
- Tap on your profile icon (settings) to open your profile page.
- Touch the hamburger icon (menu) in the top-right section.
- Select Settings from the menu and then choose Privacy.
- Under Account Privacy towards the top, toggle on Private Account.
A Private Account is only visible to people who follow you. People who want to follow you will send a request, which you can accept or deny at your discretion. This setting makes you a lot less visible on Instagram by allowing you to decide who gets to see your profile and posts.
Changing Your Instagram Activity Status
Besides adjusting privacy settings, you can also turn off your activity status to prevent the stalker from viewing your activity.
- Open Settings, then Privacy on Instagram.
- Select Activity Status and toggle Show Activity Status to off.
The steps above stop anyone from seeing what you’re up to on Instagram, but it also prevents you from seeing other people’s activity status. It’s a two-way street.
Removing Someone from Your Instagram Followers
If you have an idea of who is stalking you, you can remove them as a follower.
- Select your Profile on Instagram.
- Tap on Followers at the top.
- Select the Remove button next to the follower you want to remove.
If you have set your Instagram profile to private, this person will no longer see anything you do on your account, as long as they aren’t a follower. They may still see your comments or likes on other people’s posts, but they will not see anything you post on your own.
Changing Your Instagram Account to Private
A private Instagram account lowers the engagement factor of social media but also offers a little protection. You could try turning your account private for a month or two and then make it public again. Chances are, whoever was stalking you would get bored by then and move on—maybe.
Instagram Privacy FAQs
Here are the answers to more of your questions about taking back control of your privacy on Instagram.
What can I do if someone is making threats on Instagram?
If someone has threatened you via a comment or a direct message, the first thing you should do is take a screenshot. Many professionals recommend that you avoid responding to someone hostile on social media, but capturing an image of the content with their username will help you move forward.
You can report the user to Instagram by clicking on the three-dot menu on their profile or visiting the Instagram support website (this is where the screenshot comes to play. If the threat is severe enough, or you feel it is valid, it’s probably a good idea to contact your local law enforcement authorities.
Is there a way to tell if a fake account is following me?
Some users want to stalk your account anonymously. Perhaps you’ve blocked someone, or you haven’t accepted a follow request from a person you know. Unfortunately, Instagram won’t tell you if an account is fake or who created it. But, you can use deductive reasoning to better spot an illegitimate Instagram account.
The first sign that an Instagram profile is fake is the username. People who make fake profiles for the purpose of stalking may leave clues about who they are in the username, or they won’t put much effort into it. Scroll through your Followers’ list to see which usernames don’t add up.
Another tell-tale sign that an Instagram profile isn’t on the up-and-up is a lack of published posts. While some users don’t interact very much, most will follow other people, have followers, or publish content. A bare-bones Instagram account is undoubtedly suspicious.
Lastly, some Instagram stalkers will create accounts that mimic your friends’ profiles. Look through your Followers’ list for any repetitive accounts. If you have more than one follower who seems to be the same person, one account might be that of a stalker.
Instagram can be an excellent app for sharing photos and videos with your friends, family, and followers, but it’s not the best app for those concerned about their online privacy.
As it stands, there’s no genuine way to know if anyone is stalking you on Instagram. So, as you should when using any social media platform, always be mindful of what you post.