Creepy Danger Alert: Lock Your Instagram If You Don't Want Strangers Looking at Everything

By Sam Biddle on at

Instagram's new web profiles are beautiful—the most beautiful part of Facebook mixed with the lushness of your favourite photo app. A fine pair. The only downside is that now anyone can look at all of your uploads.

But wait, you say to your computer, sneering—my photos were already public on Instagram. Who cares? That's true. And if your account is already set to private, you have nothing to worry about here. You can stop reading this post and go to another Gizmodo™ post. But before now, the only way to access Instagram shots from other people was to scroll, tediously, through your phone. They might tweet them, but there was no way to browse in bulk without slogging through the app.

That changed this week. Now all it takes is going to Instagram.com/[INSERT USER NAME OF PERSON], and kablooey—all of their uploads are yours for the peeping. It used to be a chore for people to go back, way back, all the way back into your Instagram archive. Stuff you forgot you uploaded. Now it's a cinch.

Creepy Danger Alert: Lock Your Instagram If You Don't Want Strangers Looking at Everything

Say, for instance, you want to check out the public private life of Gawker editor Emma Carmichael. Just plug in her name after Instagram.com (hint! it's the same name as her Twitter account, as is the case with many people).

Creepy Danger Alert: Lock Your Instagram If You Don't Want Strangers Looking at Everything

Now you're looking at her friends, family, and drinking habit, spread neatly across your computer screen.

Creepy Danger Alert: Lock Your Instagram If You Don't Want Strangers Looking at Everything

Maybe this friend right here might not want a photo of her doing... this, on the Internet. Too late! Now it's there, and you're looking at it.

Creepy Danger Alert: Lock Your Instagram If You Don't Want Strangers Looking at Everything

Here's how to fix this. Go into your app, click the gear settings icon, and switch your photos to private. It'll keep people from gawking at you on the web. Done. Easy—but now you won't be able to get new followers, and the accompanying endorphin rush that goes with seeing an increasing number. Popularity or privacy? Tradeoff. Follow your heart.