Log in to Instagram in a browser.
Click on your profile icon at upper right.
Click on the round, slightly gear shaped icon next to your channel name and “Edit Profile” button.
Click on Privacy and Security option on the pop up menu.
Page down and click on View Account Data.
Here you can see that they record – forever – any current and former phone numbers and email addresses you have provided. They also record – forever – any former names, any biographical text descriptions you have provided, any links you have provided in your bio.
Let’s break this down in terms of privacy.
If you ever provided Instagram with a phone number (such as I did for two factor authentication), Facebook uses that phone number as a database key to gather data about you from third party data aggregators that, independently, have access to your offline purchase/transaction records, may have information about your income and wealth, and may, based on your purchase records, have discerned attributes about your health.
Similarly, the email addresses you have used link you to other third parties and their database and tracking systems.
If you ever placed a web address in your biographical description, this too is recorded. Facebook uses that to scan your websites to gather more information about you.
If your Profile photo is a picture of yourself, Facebook uses this photo to automatically identify you in other people’s photographs. In some cases, this can be used to identify the places you have visited, even though you never provided that information to Facebook.
The only way to break this tracking is to delete your Instagram account and start over with a new account where you provide Instagram with minimal information about yourself. Even then, Facebook likely has an algorithm that will attempt to link new accounts to old user profiles.
Facebook and Instagram operate in a dangerous and reckless manner and are both unsafe for anyone who feels privacy is important. Much of the data Facebook collects is not actual facts but is discerned or estimated or asserted. For example, while not belonging to any political party, Facebook asserted that I was both a Democrat and a Republican! Their annual salary estimates – they had several – ranged from poverty level to nearly the top 1%!
This data is used, ostensibly, for the purpose of advertising – which is a specific form of propaganda. When sold to politicians and activist groups, this data is used specifically to deliver propaganda messages to us, encouraging us to adopt someone else’s agenda.
Within this highly propagandized environment, the concept of free will and free thought is difficult to maintain as our emotions and our thinking becomes controlled by third parties that bury us in propaganda messages.
Facebook is one of the most reckless of social media platforms that ruthless invades our privacy and sells what it collects and asserts to third parties.