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Gentle January

Keep Your (Current) Location Off Instagram

Being intentional about sharing your movements has both security and privacy benefits

Digital illustration of the words “Gentle January” over a field of pixelated flowers; in the right-hand corner there is the number “5” placed on a stack of post-its
Gabriel Hongsdusit

The Gentle January series shares one practical privacy tip a day from a Markup staffer who actually uses the advice in their own life.   

My sensitivity to social media privacy began when my Instagram posts resulted in a snooping aunt telling my parents about the party I shouldn’t have been at one high school weekend. Since then, I’ve had an acute awareness of both what I post on social media and who can see it. While I run The Markup’s social media accounts, my personal accounts are private. But for my colleagues that require public profiles for their line of work, maintaining privacy isn’t as simple as making your account private. 

That’s why I recommend turning off location sharing for Instagram and other social media apps, so that Instagram doesn’t prompt you to add pre-selected locations when you post. And, if you do want to share where you’re at—like by tagging a restaurant or venue in your Instagram Story—I also suggest you only do so until after you’ve left the location. This can be especially important for women with public profiles, who may be at higher risk for stalking and harassment. You never know who could be watching what you post and decide to show up where you are. 

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