One of the most common questions Instagram users ask is, “Can people see when you look at their Instagram?”
Not knowing the answer to this has people looking up their exes, old friends, and others hesitantly. They’re afraid that the person they’re searching up will be notified that “your-username-here” is looking through their profile page.
Some social media apps, such as Tumblr (on the website itself) and Twitter (using third-party apps), can tell you which people visited your profile page the most. This means that if you innocently check up on your crush a couple times a day, or even if you go through your biggest competitor’s profile to see what they’re doing that you can emulate, they’ll be able to tell. Your username and picture will show up.
Can people tell if you’re looking through their pictures?
However, I have some great news for you. On Instagram, you remain anonymous. It doesn’t matter if you visit a profile page twenty times a day, the user will not be notified. Your friends, family members, businesses—no one will know you’re scrolling through their profile and consuming every picture they upload.
Sometimes the people you’re “stalking” will show up on your “recommended follow” list, but that’s just based off of your activity, the activity that only Instagram’s algorithm can detect. It’s just like when you visit a website, say Target’s site, and suddenly you’re getting Target ads on Instagram even though you never had them before.
So, if you get that user recommended, don’t freak out. No one, especially not them, will know that you’ve been lingering on their page—not when you’re doing it and not how often you’re doing so.
But, it’s not that simple.
Can people tell if you’re looking at their videos?
While the users you’re stalking a bit are unaware that you’re looking at their pictures, they can see when you view their videos. Of course, you can easily avoid this so that you don’t accidentally reveal yourself. It would be weird and embarrassing not only for you, but for them too, if they were to check their “views” list one day and have them find you.
So, what’s the solution? Avoid the videos!
1. You can easily do this by double checking before clicking on a specific post while you’re scrolling through their profile page. You can tell when a post is a video because there’s a small video camera on the top right corner.
2. Fortunately, the Instagram Info Center shared, “A view is counted when a video is watched for 3 seconds or more.” Therefore, if you do happen to stumble upon a video, you can just scroll down quickly, that way your view won’t count, and the person will never know you were there.
3. Finally, you’ll want to avoid the feed-like view on a profile page—again, unless you scroll past videos very quickly. (But is it really worth the risk? Stick to the default!)
Carousel posts are the exception
Luckily, you don’t have to avoid carousel posts with videos. You can tell there’s a carousel post because there are two squares on the top right corner.
You don’t have to avoid them because even if you accidentally scroll into a video—since you can share both pictures and videos in them—Instagram doesn’t share view counts for them. You could watch it, and the person who posted it would have no idea you did.
Avoid watching stories
There is one more thing you want to avoid—watching stories. Usually, in order to view analytics, like where your followers are from and how old they are, you need a business profile page. Instagram, however, gave everyone the option to look at who views their stories.
You can view who watches your stories by clicking the “seen by” option on the bottom left corner of your story. There, you’ll get a list of viewers and other data such as Impressions, Follows, and Navigation.
It doesn’t matter if someone follows you or not, you’ll be able to see if they viewed your story. That’s why you want to avoid viewing them. No matter how tempted you are to see them talking and moving, or taking extra pictures, you’ll have to avoid it, or you’ll be caught.
Blast Up stated, “In the years to come, it will be a profound move if Instagram chooses to give users the ability to see who viewed their profile. This feature would change how users interact with the app and, potentially, how much time they spend on it.” Let’s hope they don’t change this feature.
If this were to ever happen, I think people would hesitate to visit people’s profiles. They wouldn’t feel confident enough to go through friend’s profiles—even if they’re not “stalking” and simply looking for an old picture and what not.
Or if they let people know, for example, who were the top visitors and how much time they spent on it, we’d feel even just the slightest bit insecure to even follow someone. So, let’s hope that Instagram keeps this type of information anonymous, so that we can go around Instagram without worrying if people find out we’re looking at their profile page. People enjoy that they can look at picture without the worry of being caught or embarrassed.
Just a caveat...
One you’ve heard countless times—when you’re looking at old pictures make sure you don’t double tap! Nothing feels more embarrassing that liking an ex’s one-year-old picture, notifying and letting them know that you’re that stalker ex.
However, now that you know that the person you’re innocently stalking won’t know you’re stalking them unless you watch their videos and view their stories, then you can go ahead and look at all their pictures without a care in the world. When you have that doubt that somehow Instagram will break it’s anonymous rule when it comes to you, you can rest assure that they will not.