Finstant Regret: The Perils of Provocative Posting

By Roo Rusk, Staff Writer

As I’m sure many have noticed, a new trend has sprung up in the vast and ever-changing world of social media, commonly known as the “Fake Instagram”, or “Finsta” for short. Users dedicate a new Instagram account, independent from their current or “main” account, to share the utmost personal and sometimes illicit content, intended for the eyes of their closest friends or whomever they deem trustworthy enough. With the help of Instagram’s privacy settings, accounts like these may only be viewed by those with the owner’s expressed consent. Finally, the perfect soapbox for all the raw, unfiltered thoughts otherwise too bold to share in plain sight. Having taken such precautions, it could never fall into the wrong hands… or could it?

Many are aware that such personal content being published to any online platform is a risky business, but take comfort in the fact that they control who has access to it, but in my opinion, to labor under the delusion that anything nowadays is truly private is to engage in the most dangerous kind of vulnerability.

Before Instagram, those needing a safe space to vent kept a diary and while one assumed the risk of their intimate writings being discovered within the bindings of a book, that was the only real threat involved.

With a Finsta, however, all it takes to expose these potentially scandalous thoughts or photos is a couple of screenshots.

It is also important to keep in mind that Instagram is still under the ownership of Facebook. This means that anything you like, post or share is permanently stored in the Facebook databases and will likely affect the ads or other content on your future feed. It also implies that as permanent as that delete button may feel, nothing posted ever really goes away.

Furthermore, while I completely understand the desire for a therapeutic outlet and detest the notion that the internet is an inherently evil place, I’ve seen this practice go wrong too many times to confidently say that I condone it. All too often, if brought to their attention, coaches, employers or others in positions of authority have found these accounts to reflect poorly on their group or organization resulting in the removal of said users.

It may seem harsh, but the weight of our words is perhaps greater than we may register at times. As a student or prospective employee, no harm ever came from striving to maintain a squeaky-clean, professional online presence.

But hey, if danger is your middle name and your handful of followers are faith, trust and pixie dust, then more power to you. Who’s to say authority and propriety should dare limit our means of self-expression? My only advice would be to keep your friends close and everyone else just following your main account.