Teens Have Figured Out How To Mess With Instagram s Tracking Algorithm

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samsung galaxy note 4" style="max-width:450px;float:left;padding:10px 10px 10px 0px;border:0px;">id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> Teens have been using group accounts on Instagram to feed randomized data to the social network and protect their privacy.  Alfred Ng / CNET Like about a billion other people, 17-year-old Samantha Mosley spent her Saturday afternoon perusing Instagram.  She was taking a glance at the Explore tab, a feature on Instagram that shows you posts tailored for your interests based on algorithms that track your online activities and target posts to your feed.  But unlike many of Instagram's users, Mosley and her high school friends in Maryland had figured out a way to fool tracking by the Facebook-owned social network.

On the first visit, her Explore tab showed images of Kobe Bryant. Then on a refresh, Coolpad Rogue geekbench 4 test cooking guides, and after another refresh, animals.  "I've never looked at animals on this account," Mosley mentioned in Washington, DC. At the hacker conference Shmoocon, HTC One M9 antutu test along with her father, Russell Mosley, she'd just given a presentation on how teens were keeping their accounts private from Instagram. "I like knowing that if someone were to find my account, they're not going to be able to track my movement." Samantha Mosley, high school student Each time she refreshed the Explore tab, Lenovo Tab V7 antutu v7 it was a completely different topic, blu G9 pro geekbench 4.4 none of which she was interested in.

That's because Mosley wasn't the only person using this account -- it belonged to a group of her friends, at least five of whom could be on at any given time. Maybe they couldn't hide their data footprints, but they could at least leave hundreds behind to confuse trackers. These teenagers are relying on a sophisticated network of trusted Instagram users to post content from multiple different devices, from multiple different locations.  If you wanted to confuse Instagram, here's how. First, make multiple accounts.

You might have an Instagram account dedicated to you and friends, or another just for your hobby. Give access to one of these low-risk accounts to someone you trust. Then request a password reset, and send the link to that trusted friend who'll log on from a different device. Password resets don't end Instagram sessions, so both you and the second person will be able to access the same account at the same time. Finally, by having someone else post the photo, Instagram grabs metadata from a new, fresh device.

Repeat this process with a network of, say, 20 users in 20 different locations with 20 different devices? Now you're giving Instagram quite the confusing cocktail of data.  CNET Daily News Get the latest tech stories from CNET News every weekday. "They might be like, 'Hey, you posted from this hamburger place in Germany, maybe you like Germany, or hamburgers, or traveling, we'll just throw everything at you,'" Mosley said. "We fluctuate who's sending to what account.

One week I might be sending to 17 accounts, and then the next week I only have four." Facebook said that this method was not against its policies, but didn't recommend it to people because of security concerns. Keeping track Nearly everything you do online is tracked.

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