December 28, 2021

Spies or Lies: How does Instagram Know what I am Thinking?

Spies or Lies: How does Instagram Know what I am Thinking?

Instagram advertising is notorious for its accuracy, which can be alarming at times. It is very likely that the dress you discussed with your friend last night, or the movie you recommended seeing to your sweetheart, will show up there. This led to many crazy suspicions that Instagram might be eavesdropping in on you.

According to social media rumors, the app can unlock your camera to monitor how you react to posts.

But what is the truth behind this? This article will look into the mystery behind Instagram's advertising schemes.

What the Netizens Have to Say

According to rumors, new Instagram policies grant unrestricted access to all data on users' devices. If that were not enough to make Internet users anxious, the application would also have access to the device's front camera, allowing it to capture people's facial expressions while reading a publication.

Furthermore, the alleged modifications would involve tracking how individuals engage with a post, including the time they look at it, how they touch the screen, and the speed at which they do. People also speculate about how Instagram uses the cameras of its users even when they are not using them.

According to the rumor's peddlers, this would be for commercial purposes: to gather information to select the advertising displayed to the user.

People have even speculated that Instagram may tap users when the app runs in the background. Rumor has it that the audio stream gets converted to text on the phone, and some patterns get extracted. The final payload will likely be smaller than the audio stream and sent over 3G.

One user recounts trying to call someone on WhatsApp during a hike. The audio quality was so poor, as expected that the user had to switch to text. The user speculates that the Instagram app could not send a raw audio stream to a server. Alternatively, the audio can be kept locally in chunks and subsequently synchronized to a server in the background when the network conditions improve, such as after the hike.

The user speculates that the microphone gets utilized to record the environment in either of the two conclusions.

The Truth Behind the Mystery

These speculations led thousands of individuals to trust such terrifying reports since app users rarely read the terms and conditions before clicking "accept" or "agree." With that, mobile phone cameras to monitor reactions or emotions are not stated in the app's terms of service and data policy, which you can find on its website and the app itself.

Users can also find out what the app monitors for advertising purposes in the legal information section of Instagram. Instagram collects the information and content that users share, such as the user's network of contacts, hashtags used, location, and affiliation with products, among other things. Instagram uses these pieces of information to tailor the advertising content it displays to the user's preferences.

In terms of facial recognition, it can be turned on or off based on the user's preference. The platform also clarifies that users get notified in advance if face recognition technology gets introduced into the app experience. It will ultimately be up to the users to decide whether or not to use the function.

The Instagram Algorithm

It is safe to assume that your phone is not eavesdropping in on your real-life chats at this point. On the other hand, Instagram knows a lot about you, thanks to your scrolling on the app, internet browsing, and surveillance of your actual location and other data points. You can even see what all of these data points have led Instagram to believe you are interested in, just like you can on Facebook.

Furthermore, the order in which photos and videos appear in your feed will be determined by the chance that you will be interested in the material, your relationship with the person who posted, and the post's timeliness.

Instagram analyzes your previous behavior to determine your level of interest. So, if you engage with a given genre of material more frequently, for example, Instagram may rank content in that genre, such as food, restaurants, and small food businesses, higher on your feed.

The switch to a ranked feed in Instagram's algorithm is a win-win situation. The system uses machine learning to ensure that users see the material they are most likely interested in, resulting in better-focused audiences for commercial accounts.

For commercial accounts, the Instagram algorithm works if they create entertaining, relevant, and timely material. When postings get placed in reverse-chronological order, it helps bring their unique content in front of more people.

Taking Advantage of Data

Its likelihood of catching your interest determines the order in which content appears in your feed. Thus, for businesses, digging into your Instagram analytics data is one of the finest ways to figure out what your audience likes to see.

You may use Instagram Insights to see which of your posts has received the most engagement. If you want to be more particular about engagement data, you can arrange posts by most comments, likes, and saves.

Furthermore, PoeticMetric can assist you in quickly identifying your highest-engagement posts. Once you have compiled a list of your most popular Instagram posts, you can begin to see what commonalities they share. With this information, you can start to reverse engineer what your audience is most likely to engage with on Instagram and develop a strategy to help you get the most out of the algorithm.


Make commercial decisions without jeopardizing the privacy of your visitors. PoeticMetric is a blazingly fast analytics tool that prioritizes privacy and complies with regulations. There are no cookies or personal information collected. As a result, you do not have to be concerned about cookie banners, GDPR, CCPA, or PECR.

You will not have to worry about Instagram updates and algorithm changes if you focus on creating relationships with your audience and providing amazing content. After all, maintaining long-term engagement on Instagram requires authenticity and transparency. Start using PoeticMetric today.