Instagram is slowly introducing a new feature that better protects your personal information from access by your long-lists third-party applications. It is, an app that you have once authorized over the years to access your Instagram profile. These can be websites that you have used to print your Instagram photos, various dating apps or Instagram tools for making collages, finding your best photos and more.
Offering a tool to remove third-party apps from accessing your account is now a fairly common security setting among platform providers. Instagram is too late to offer such functionality. Twitter, Facebook and Google have had the same functionality for years.
And Instagram does not hurry the launch either.
The company says its new security features will take no less than six months to reach all users because it is designed to be a gradual rollout. For comparison: most new functions tend to be rolled out in days or sometimes weeks, but rarely as long as six months.
The choice to go slow is worth mentioning here – especially given that the parent company of Instagram, the huge personal data scandal of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, came into being because users had connected to a third-party app that had the personal had incorrectly collected user data.
Instagram has demonstrably less wealth of personal information to tap, compared to Facebook. But it is still not necessary to give an app that you have used many years ago access to information such as your Instagram username, your photos, all your captions, timestamps of your messages, permalinks and more. And if you maintain a private account with the intention of sharing your content only with good friends and family, this level of access can make you even more uncomfortable.
Although Instagram is not clear in its public announcement about its reasoning for such a slow rollout, it is bound to API changes for developers. The company gives developers time to switch from the Instagram Legacy API platform to the Facebook Graph API.
As the company explains in a developer announcement, the new API “allows appropriate cases of consumer use while protecting user privacy and security” – including allowing users to decide what information they share with apps and then revoke access via the Instagram mobile app. The old API platform will be outdated on March 2, 2020.
It would have been logical for Instagram to communicate to users that the gradual rollout is coming because it gives developers time to prepare their apps for these changes. But because it did not mention this, the slow rollout news comes across as Instagram who does not believe that such a feature is a priority or important for users.
If you have the new security setting, you will find it under “Settings” in the Instagram app. This is under ‘Security’ and then ‘Apps and websites’. In this screen you can tap ‘Delete’ for apps that you do not want to link to your Instagram account.
In connection with this, Instagram says it also introduces an updated authorization screen that displays all the information an app requests when you authorize it to connect to your Instagram account. If you think it goes too far, you can simply choose ‘Cancel’ instead of ‘Authorize’.
If you don’t have the new features right now, just wait until somewhere in 2020, I think.