Thought you unlinked your Instagram and Facebook accounts? Well, you haven’t. As Wired reports, the “Unlink Account” option in Instagram, which allows a user to unlock their Instagram account from other social media services, is a lie–when it comes to the ability to unlink your Instagram account from Facebook, anyway.
The “Unlink Account” option does work if you want to unlink your Instagram account from Twitter or other social media services, but if you tap the button that says it will unlink your Instagram and Facebook accounts, well, tap it all you want, because it actually does nothing. As Wired reports:
Clicking Unlink Account does not actually unlink a Facebook account from Instagram, a Facebook spokesperson told WIRED, because it isn’t possible to separate the two. Even if a user never explicitly linked their Facebook and Instagram profiles, they are intrinsically connected—Finstagrams be damned—and will continue to be, regardless of how many times you mash “Unlink Account.”
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve used different names, emails, phone numbers, and addresses to set up your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Facebook will still link them automatically. And, if you’ve linked them manually in Instagram and then in the future want to unlink them, Instagram will make it look like the accounts are unlinked, but in reality, they won’t be. As a Facebook spokesperson told Wired:
Because Facebook and Instagram share infrastructure, systems and technology, we connect information about your activities across our services based on a variety of signals. Linking or unlinking your accounts in the app doesn’t affect this.
As Wired notes, Facebook’s false “Unlink Account” tool poses privacy concerns for its users. Facebook admitted its back-end linking of user accounts means Facebook could use your Instagram account information to prompt the user to join Facebook Groups with people they follow or interact with them in Messenger. “That could pose privacy concerns for users who want their activity on an unlinked Instagram account isolated from their prime Facebook profile,” Wired points out.
What’s even more unnerving about a user’s inability to unlink their Facebook and Instagram accounts is that Facebook outright tells them they can on its very own Instagram help document. There in black and white, it lays out the steps on how to unlink your Instagram account from your Facebook account. Yet from the comments Facebook’s spokesperson gave to Wired, we now know this help article is extremely misleading.