Among the social media applications with image-sharing capabilities, Snapchat and Instagram seem to be the most favored among the populace. The purpose for each is comparative; the user has the opportunity to create videos and pictures of a higher quality level and share these on the platforms in either a public capacity or maintain privacy.
Public sharing means the content travels worldwide, with you having little concern about who sees it. Private sharing is supposed to indicate that a user has the benefit of selecting a circle of close friends and family with whom to allow to see what you post. Somehow the privacy feature is lacking on both these sites.
It would seem that individuals can randomly decide to follow your Instagram account without authorization from you. Similarly, people can be added on Snapchat at random without acknowledgment.
How and why is this possible, and is there a way users can make this stop to genuinely enjoy privacy with their social media sites. Let’s look further.
How can random people add you on Snapchat?
The indication is that Snapchat has grown to hundreds of millions of active participants in its time on the market. People of all ages enjoy the chance to share their video footage, pictures, and messaging with posts offering details concerning everyday situations sent either publicly worldwide or to a carefully selected group of close friends and family.
But do users take the opportunity to use the site’s privacy tools to avoid having random people add them as friends, or are there vulnerabilities with these security tactics? There are distinct vulnerabilities and a great need for improvements in transparency from the platform itself.
Individual friends’ lists could grow to exceptional proportions because people have the ability to add you even if you didn’t accept their invitation when you’re new to the site and have settings sitting in default mode.
Without enabling the adequate setting to secure the account, anyone can access and become a part of any account.
The platform doesn’t openly state that users need to reset their profile settings to establish privacy. Once this is recognized and privacy is put in place, strangers will no longer be able to see what you’re posting, plus you will be able to decide if you’re going to accept another person’s invitation to interact or deny it.
A supposed added layer of security is once a random person adds you on Snapchat, you need to add them as well for the cycle to complete allowing them access to view your content.
The takeaway for those just starting with Snapchat is as long as your account is set to default, you will be exposed to any stranger who chooses to add you and bombard you with the posts.
If you want to avoid this influx of people’s messages with whom you’re unfamiliar, the effort required is to change those privacy settings. So your account is secure for you and those closest to you.
Preventing random user follow up on Snapchat
Again, for those just starting with Snapchat, you’re at the mercy of virtual strangers because your account settings are all on default. As a new user to any platform, an essential first step is to research how security and privacy work and get that set up to avoid issues like people you don’t know inundating your personal profile. Protecting private data is important these days.
If this has already been happening to you, it’s time to fix your settings. Let’s look at some of the steps to help you incorporate security into your Snapchat experience.
- Use your mobile to open the application.
- You’ll need to go to the profile page by going to the top left of the screen to click the image or the avatar.
- You’ll see the settings icon near the top right of the screen and need to tap this to get a menu.
- When this pops up, you’ll select the “who can” section, and under that, you’ll find a section entitled “see me on quick-add.” The platform indicates this is how friends can find each other. Select this category to disable the function.
That’s all it takes to keep random people from finding you and adding you on a whim on Snapchat. Once these steps are followed, you should no longer get a flood of unwanted content in your feed. Now let’s check out Instagram.
How can strangers follow you on Instagram?
Claims suggest that with careful attention to detail, most users will find that these “strangers” are fake accounts typically generated by bots increasing following individual counts exceptionally.
The platform in existence since 2010 has always attracted fake followers. But this has drastically increased over time, and the social site is aware of the problem. At one point, there was a site-wide purge to eliminate millions of the false accounts, but it hasn’t fixed the issue.
Many users can recognize the scammers when there are no posts under the profile, no profile picture, and minimal followers. The problem is that some of the spam is tough to identify, especially as the bots become more sophisticated to get past the network.
Some of these false accounts use data from real individuals without consent or knowledge, which makes it genuinely challenging to identify a false profile from an authentic one.
In these cases, the profile posts/pictures/content is often stolen with made-up bios, so the platform doesn’t become suspicious, and users believe it might be someone with whom they interacted on a post, and then that person followed them.
Many Instagram participants use the social media site for business purposes and prefer their following count to be high. Unfortunately, these scammers or bots are not the way in which anyone wants to increase their following. Some of these are dangerous, with the potential to infect your system or steal your data.
Preventing “strangers” from following your Instagram
Unfortunately, Instagram is making every effort to eliminate these fraudulent scammers from infiltrating people’s accounts. One of their methods was purging the site and effectively getting rid of millions of these fake profiles.
Sadly, these accounts are becoming much more sophisticated and virtually impossible to detect from an authentic user. As a participant on the platform, you can simply unfollow those you prefer not to have on your list of followers.
You can use the privacy setting to curb the spam that has access to your profile in another effort. A majority of the spam requests are produced by bots that crawl through the platform seeking targets. Steps to take so you aren’t one of them include:
The initial step necessary for those who need to protect their profile is to put your settings to private. When this is enabled, you will need to give consent when someone requests to be a follower, and only the individuals you approve will be able to see your content regardless of whether your hashtag is a popular tag.
Spammers will be unable to see your profile from publicly presented content or inputting a familiar hashtag. Even enabled privacy won’t prevent strangers from sending posts to your feed even if they’re not followers.
Disable similar suggestions in settings next. When you request to follow another profile, Instagram offers suggestions for other people to consider following as well. That means you will also show up under other peoples’ “suggested people to follow,” which can include scammers.
These false accounts take advantage of this feature to latch on to public profiles to get these suggestions to find the private profiles. When you disable this feature in the setting menu (“similar account suggestions”), your profile will be minimally visible.
The downside is that you’ll no longer receive suggestions on who would be good for you to consider following. In order to change this from the default setting, a participant will need to use a desktop browser.
The user icon will be at the top of the screen to the right, bringing you to the account section where you need to tap on “edit profile.”
Once there, you’ll look at the bottom of this page to see the “similar account suggestions” with a box beside it that will be checked. It would help if you unchecked that box and then hit submit.
Of course, you always want to block the user attempting to follow you, and reports to Instagram are encouraged to help them prevent the activity in the future.
Privacy and security are imperative when using any social site or the internet in general. When signing onto a new platform, the first thing to do is to educate on the security guidelines, how to enable the privacy settings, and which other settings give strangers access to your profile so you can disable those.
If you’re the parent of a teenager who uses social sites, you must help them take these steps to ensure their safety and security.