Jessica Goodfellow
Oct 17, 2019

Instagram adds privacy feature for third-party apps

The photo-sharing app is following in the footsteps of its parent company's 'Off-Facebook Activity' tool.

Instagram adds privacy feature for third-party apps

Instagram is adding a privacy feature that will allow its users to more easily control the data they share with third-party apps.

The tool, announced in a blog post on Instagram’s press site, will permit users to manage their data permissions within their Instagram settings, rather than reviewing their privacy settings within every third-party app they have connected to their profile.

There are a variety of third-party apps and websites that provide an option to ‘Import photos from Instagram’ or to ‘Connect/Link to Instagram’, including apps that print Instagram photos or build websites. Users may grant such apps access to their profile information and then forget about it, but in the meantime they will continue pulling data from the profile. The new security tool is specifically designed to make it easier for users to manage this.

It is accessible in the ‘Security - Apps and Websites’ tab in the Instagram app. From there, users will have the option to remove any third-party services they no longer want connected to their account.

It is also introducing an updated authorisation screen that lists all the information the third party is requesting to access, giving users the option to ‘cancel’ or ‘authorise’ this access.

Instagram said the rollout of the feature will take up to six months, which is an unusually long time for a new feature. The social media platform usually takes a few days or weeks to roll out Instagram Story features to its users. The longer time span is primarily to allow developers to get their apps ready for a move from the Instagram Legacy API Platform to the Facebook Graph API.

The new privacy feature follows in the footsteps of parent company Facebook’s ‘Off-Facebook activity’ tool, which allows users to see and control the data that other apps and websites share with Facebook. It started rolling out the tool to select countries earlier this year.

The move is part of a broader push from tech platforms to give users greater control and transparency over how — and by whom — their data is collected, following intense scrutiny over their data collection practices.

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