Can Instagram use your cell phone camera to monitor your reactions? This is what the app's policies say

December 28, 2020 7 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This weekend a rumor broke out about Instagram that put users on alert. Supposedly, the application linked to Facebook updated its privacy policies and terms of use. The new terms would allow the app to use your phone’s camera at any time to monitor your reactions.

Rumor has it that new Instagram policies give you unlimited access to all the information on your devices. If that already sounds worrisome, what really alarmed Internet users is that the application would also have access to the front camera of the equipment to record your facial expressions when viewing a publication.

In addition, the supposed changes would include recording “the way you interact with a post, the time you look at it, how you touch the screen, the speed with which you like” and “make use of your camera even when you are not using it” , is read in one of the hundreds of posts that circulate on social networks.

According to the disseminators of the rumor, this would have commercial purposes: to collect information to select the advertising that is shown to the user.

Since app users seldom read the terms and conditions carefully before hitting ‘accept’, it was very easy for thousands of people to believe the alarming report.

Even the Queen of Pop, Madonna, disagreed in an Instagram post:

“Instagram’s new cyber surveillance policies allow Mark Zuckerberg to spy on you and your family, steal your most intimate secrets and monitor your compliance with government mandates across all your devices, including your television, and sell your data to the government. and the industry or punish him for disobedience, “ wrote Madonna. ” This is a terrifying shit , “added the diva.

Of course, the 62-year-old star was not the only one to issue warnings against the platform. Thousands of Internet users echoed the rumor, stated that they would uninstall the app and shared tips to avoid being a victim of espionage or theft of private information by Instagram.

What do the privacy policies of Instagram actually say?

You just have to carefully read the terms of the application to realize it was all fake news! In the conditions of use and the data policy , which can be consulted in the app itself and on its website, the use of cell phone cameras to monitor reactions or expressions is not established.

“As this policy also includes Facebook, information on facial recognition is included, although we do not use this technology on Instagram. If we start using it, we will notify you and we will give you the option to choose if you want to accept its use ” , you can read on the web.

In the legal information section of Instagram, we can find what the app monitors for advertising purposes. In general, Instagram collects the information and content that the user provides, such as your network of contacts, the hashtags you use, your location and affiliation with products. So select the advertising content that it shows according to your interests.

Regarding facial recognition, mention that this function is activated or not depending on the user selects.

“If this feature is enabled, we will use facial recognition technology to recognize you in photos, videos, and camera experiences. The facial recognition templates that we create may constitute data with special protections under the legislation of your country ” , reads its data policy.

“You can get more information about the way we use this technology or control how we use it in Facebook settings,” they add.

The platform also clarifies that “in case we introduce facial recognition technology in your Instagram experience, we will inform you in advance and you can decide if you want us to use it for you .”

For its part, the Instagram Public Relations team clarified the update of its use policies on its official Twitter account.

“We made some changes to our Terms to make them easier to understand; for example, we provide clearer language about how we use data to personalize ads. You can find them here and they apply to all of them on Instagram, ”they added, sharing a link to an explainer on Facebook.

Of course, the memes about the false rumor were not lacking and here are some:

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