There are many viral posts doing the rounds on social media claiming that Instagram is sharing your exact location with your followers. Instagram has denied these claims, and there are safeguards built into iOS to protect your data. Here’s what you need to know…
Is Instagram sharing your exact location with followers?
The popular post, shared on Instagram, has received hundreds of thousands of likes and comments. The announcement says that “if you have an iPhone,” Instagram for iOS shares your exact location with your followers when you tag a location in a post or story.
For example, if you specify a public location in a story or post on Instagram, such as “Austin, Texas,” the viral post says Instagram will show your location directly to your students, not the general area. The original source of this claim says that due to a change in the “latest iOS update,” Instagram is no longer working.
The post also goes on to say that “robbers and criminals are suspected of using this feature to search for people and break into homes and cars.”
This, of course, is not true in the least. Apple has not changed the location distribution on its end, and Instagram has denied the allegations.
In response to the first post, Instagram made the following statement:
We do not share your location with other people. We use the location for things like location tagging if you add someone to a post or comment, but we don’t share your exact location. If you want to change your location settings, check your general device settings.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri cried again on Twitter to address the viral allegations. “Location Services is a hardware setting on your phone, not a new feature from Instagram, and it powers things like location tags,” Mosseri said. “We will not share your location with other people.”
How to manage location settings
Since Instagram, the original post, and Mosseri all talk about Apple’s location sharing settings in iOS, we thought it would be good to take another look at how iOS can manage your data. location.
As we discussed in our complete guide to managing your location sharing with third-party apps, iOS has three options:
- Never – Your location will never be shared in all and a third party app
- Ask next time or I’ll share – The app will ask you if you want to share your location when you log in for that one time.
- While using the App – Your location is shared every time you open the app
Below these three options, there is also a toggle for “Direct Location.” If this is possible, the app is allowed to use your private information. When disabled, the app can only determine your approximate location. You can find these options in the Settings app, scroll down with the specific app and tap on it.
It’s up to you to decide which setting you want to use for each app. My general advice is to leave the “Direct Location” option toggled off away for almost every application. There’s no reason to give an app like Instagram your exact location data, even if the company says it’s not being used for malicious purposes.
In the end, there is no truth to the viral posts going around social media about Instagram sharing your exact location with your followers. However, there are steps you can take to protect sensitive information such as your location data.
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