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Cyber security, anti-bullying feature: Experts happy with Instagram's new updates

Global scrutiny post Cambridge Analytica has led to tighter controls being exercised by Facebook.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 02.48 PM IST
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Instagram is also removing the ‘following’ tab which was created to help people discover new posts and accounts their friends engage with.
NEW DELHI: Marketers, security experts and advertisers expect Facebook's photo sharing app Instagram to gain a competitive edge over rival platforms in markets like India after the company rolled out a series of new updates and security features this month including restricting third party data that other apps can use from Instagram, enabling people to identify phishing emails claiming to be from Instagram besides rolling out a restrict feature to hide bullying posts on users' feed and removing the following tab- the feed that shows the likes, comments and following users of your friends.

Security experts said consumers today are extremely cautious of the data they share with third parties and that global scrutiny post Cambridge Analytica has led to tighter controls being exercised by Facebook on platforms that the company owns. Others believe the series of new updates could also be aimed at tackling the growth of rival platform TikTok.

“The audience for the two platforms is very different, yet there is an overlap. There are concerns which prevent certain users from going on to TikTok and those concerns are everything that Instagram is doing to hedge against by introducing so many new features. The current user base will feel more secure and it will help improve engagements. Privacy, security, trolling and abuse are complaints often cited against social media platforms,” said Gozoop founder and CEO Ahmed Aftab Naqvi.

In a blog post on October 15, Instagram stated users have the option to remove any third party services they no longer want connected to their Instagram account. Users can manage their connections to third party services by going to settings in the Instagram app. By tapping security next and then apps and websites, they will have the option to remove third party services. “When you remove a third party service, they will no longer have access to new data on your account,” Instagram stated.

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“With this new security feature, consumers can not only ensure that they share limited data with third parties, but can also now view the extent of data third party applications have. Not only this, consumers will not be able to review the apps and the kind of data they fetch and can change and control the extent,” said Rahul Tyagi, co-founder of enterprise cyber security company Lucideus.

“We foresee this to become a USP for Instagram in India and other markets and will help them attract more users and continue to maintain the present base and cater to consumers who are privacy conscious,” Tyagi added.

In a tweet on October 8, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri stated the company is removing the ‘following’ tab on Instagram which was created to help people discover new posts and accounts their friends engage with. “We are always trying to stay focused and keep Instagram simple and so we celebrate launches and unshipping,” Mosseri tweeted.

Harsh Shah, senior vice president at digital agency Dentsu Webchutney and Prashant Puri, CEO of digital marketing firm AdLift said brands only stand to gain from these new updates from Instagram as users will feel safer which will help drive engagements and quality conversations for brands. “Anti-Bullying measures help brands in more ways than we can think. May be not immediately, but it will help users to be more confident to engage and converse,” he added.

Sumedh Chaphekar, chief executive of influencer incubator platform NoFiltr said users are taking note of the following tab update. “Influencer behaviour is also evolving and is getting more mature on the app,” he said.

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