Instagram Is Tricking Everyone Into Sharing Their Contacts And It’s Not Cool
10 April 2018, 11:32 | Updated: 13 April 2018, 17:28
This is sneaky as f*ck
Here's the most infuriating thing you'll see today. Tech writer @ow highlighted a really nasty little design choice that Instagram uses to try and trick users into letting the app have full access to all the contacts on their phone. Take a look:
How Instagram tricks you into syncing ALL of your contacts when picking a username is the most sinister interface trick I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/BQqgYHNOs5— ⚡️ Owen (@ow) April 6, 2018
As you can see, the app makes the 'continue without syncing' button much, much smaller than the massive 'NEXT' button, and generally designs it to be as un-eye-catching as possible. The 'NEXT' button, meanwhile, is massive and draws the eye, but doesn't actually tell you what 'next' entails. It should say 'continue and sync contacts' but it doesn't, it just says 'next'. The reality of what you're doing has to be determined by reading the small, faint grey text above and realising that it relates to the 'next' button.
Seeing as most new Instagram users will probably breeze through these set up steps, many people will probably not realise what they are even doing here.
Owen then went deeper into the precise moments when Instagram gets you to agree to hand over your contacts:
Figured out where they actually request contact permission - sneakily mixed in later on with the linking Facebook step 🤔 pic.twitter.com/5xeqREoozz— ⚡️ Owen (@ow) April 7, 2018
It serves as a fresh reminder that these services - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like - they aren't free. They may not cost any money to download, but you pay in another way - with your personal data. Your data is incredibly valuable to these companies, and they are doing pretty much anything they can to get hold of it, so stay on your toes.