Instagram can be a stalker’s paradise. We talked, earlier, about how geo-tagging can be a big breach of privacy, even if you sign your rights away by accepting terms and conditions you have no idea about. The recent update to Instagram, for instance, took away your ‘add to photo map’ option. Did you even notice that? What this means, according to Instagram, is that every photo you add to your Instagram, tagged with a location, will automatically go on your photo map. So here’s the lowdown on the Instagram photo map update, what it means for you, and how you can deal with it.
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How it used to be:
Earlier, if you hadn’t set your Instagram account to private – and really, it’s like Twitter for images, what’s the point of putting up photos of every item of food you eat unless you want everybody to see it – you could choose to add photos to your photo map. This meant that, even if you had your location turned on, it didn’t automatically mean that every location tagged photo ended up on your photo map.
How it is now:
If your location is turned on and you tag your photos with a location, your photo automatically goes on the photo map. That is the default. It’s a bit of an about-turn in policy as far as photomaps are concerned.
your photo automatically goes on the photo map
What you can do about it:
You can still go to your photomap and change this. Your geo-tagged photos will automatically go on the photo map. After you upload your photo, you go to your profile; then you go to your photomap and hit the edit button. It’ll be on the top right corner of your screen. Your photos will be clustered according to location. You pick one, and then you can deselect ones you don’t want on the map. This means that you can choose which photos will be added to your phot omap, but only by removing them, instead of opting to add them. There is also a ‘deselect all’ option, which will wipe your map clean. This will remove the map icon from your profile.
Does this matter if you already choose to tag your location?
Of course it does.
There’s a difference between telling a few people that you’re at a certain spot at a certain time on a certain day, and letting them have an actual map through which they can track your movements without going to any effort at all. It’s like giving stalkers or robbers or even assassins, if you’re that important, a way to make their job far easier than it should be.
What, really, is the point of the photo map if not to make life easier for stalkers? You know where you are. You probably remember where you were a few days ago. Even if you can’t recollect it off the top of your head, you can easily check one location and that should trigger your memory. This is only useful to people who have absolutely no business having an actual map of your movements at their beck and call. Remember that this update didn’t come with any fanfare. Most people didn’t even realise this update had happened. Terms and conditions change all the time, so the line between having a public profile and a private one could be blurred at any moment.
Of course, if you already have a stalker and want to send them on a wild goose chase, this is an excellent tool for you!