I’ll keep it simple. Stay away from the Wrapped for Instagram trend. The app has been making rounds in the App Store’s top bracket for the past few days, and the premise is a little too lucrative to ignore in the first place.
You may see your friends online showing off their Wrapped stats, but before you go and join in the “fun” for yourself, please consider the following first.
Just like Spotify’s own “wrapped” system that offers an insight into your music streaming habits for the whole year, the new Wrapped app offers a dive into your Instagram usage trends.
It tells you the number of hours you spent on Instagram in 2023, your top online friends, the number of people who blocked you, and more. In real life, those statistics are not particularly accurate, and there is no explanation at all regarding how the app is making those calculations.
Now, before you go ahead and install it, you might want to pay attention to my own experience and how the app works. I installed the app last night and gave it access to my Instagram account. I woke up today to see that I have been logged out of that account on my iPhone.
A healthy bunch of users have also flagged concern on Reddit and other social platforms that this app is collecting login credentials for stealing data and hacking accounts. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
When you launch the Wrapped app for the first time, it asks you to connect your Instagram account by entering your login credentials. Once authenticated, it shows you some juicy account stats, as shown below.
The list of three accounts that the app curated as “Your 2023 top Friends” has my sister’s account at the top. But here’s the fun part. We barely exchange a meme or two within the DMs section in a month. I don’t even view her Instagram Stories. In the third position is a former colleague who only shares a post or two per week, if at all, but I never interact with their stories.
In the second position is a friend whom I engage with on a daily basis, and overwhelmingly more than any person in my mutual circles. Then the app tells me I spent over 660 hours on Instagram last year. The screen time settings on my phone(s) tell me that my weekly time spent on Instagram is less than two hours.
I also know that, for a fact, I don’t spend more than two (or a maximum of three) hours per week on Instagram. That means my 2023 Instagram hours should not exceed the 200-hour mark, even by the most generous estimation. The Wrapped for Instagram app is off in its estimation by an error margin of at least 200% here. And I am not the only one seeing the obvious inaccuracies.
The app also gives you a list of three accounts that viewed my profile, how many accounts took a screenshot of my posts, and the number of users that blocked me. The app claims to offer more granular insights but hides them behind a paid Diamond subscription. Digital Trends has reached out to the developers’ account on Instagram for more information and will update this post when we hear back.
But there are some red flags here as well. “For a better experience, while using our Service, we may require you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information,” reads the disclosure. This is a concerning declaration because handing over such personal data to a third-party app is a bad idea.
It’s also worth pointing out that the developer account on Instagram that I shot a DM to last night, well, is nowhere to be seen today. The app’s start-up page says all analysis happens on-device and that the developer team doesn’t get access to any of your log-in info, but history tells a different story with multiple scammy apps that have popped up in the past with similar promises.
If that wasn’t enough evidence to steer you away from the Wrapped app, Digital Trends received this comment from a Meta spokesperson when asked about the app:
“This app violates our terms and we’ve asked Apple to remove it from the App Store.”
It doesn’t get much clearer than that.
Look, it’s never a good idea to connect a third-party app to your social media account. And when that app happens to be something like Instagram — where you post a lot of personal content — you should proceed with extreme caution. Here are just a few of the concerns regarding the app that is all over social media:
You might ask why something like Spotify Wrapped is safe, but Wrapped for Instagram is not. Well, first of all, Spotify Wrapped is an in-house tool, which means your music streaming data is only accessed by tools created by Spotify and which run on the company’s own servers. In the case of Wrapped for Instagram, it’s an external app from a developer that we have never heard about.
Second, Spotify Wrapped is accurate, but this shady Instagram-linked app is anything but. Plus, we live in an age of generative AI, and it’s pretty darn easy to lift content from an Instagram profile and morph it. There is already precedence of such cases happening in the U.S., as explained in this report by The Washington Post.
Everything about the Wrapped for Instagram app seems fishy and a screaming red flag. I would strongly suggest that you steer clear of vanity Instagram usage stats in favor of keeping your social media account intact and your privacy unviolated. And given what Meta has told us, it’s likely just a matter of time before Wrapped from Instagram is booted from the App Store for good.
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