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PSA: Your Instagram followers can share your private videos and photos using a desktop browser

It’s almost like security is hard…

instagram feed on phone
Image: Unsplash

You might think that by making your Instagram or Facebook account private, the photos and videos you post there are more protected than on a normal account. You’re partly right, although a really simple trick can let your friends and followers access, download, and share your private moments.

Anyone with a small knowledge of HTML and the inspection tools in modern browsers can do the simple workaround.

A simple trick lets your followers share your private videos and photos from Instagram or Facebook

According to BuzzFeed News, everything from JPEGs and MP4s from private feeds or Stories can be grabbed and shared in this way. It even works with content from Instagram Stories, which are supposed to only be available for 24 hours after posting.

  • All you need to do is inspect the images and videos being loaded onto the page, with the inbuilt developer tools in your browser
  • Once you get the source URL, you can share that, go directly to it to download the content, or whatever
  • A Facebook spokesperson tried to downplay this to BuzzFeed News, saying it’s “the same as taking a screenshot of a friend’s photo on Facebook and Instagram and sharing it with other people.”
  • Those public URLs differ to screenshots as they show information about the images, like dimensions and how they were uploaded
  • It also shows that even if a Facebook or Instagram user deletes a photo from their account, they’re still being stored and accessed on Facebook’s content delivery network.

I guess the old adage really does ring true, don’t share anything on the internet you wouldn’t want to be shared publicly.

What do you think? Is this is a big deal or is it basically the same as screenshotting something? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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