November 16, 2018
As long as we have had databases and the Internet, we have had "stalking." And things have only gotten easier with the advent of social media.
The "stalking" -- the harmless satisfaction of curiosity kind and not the should-get-you-arrested kind -- makes sense though. We’re curious creatures by nature, and we have all of this data right in front of our faces. It's as if it was made just to be over-analyzed by our highly evolved brains. It’s become the social media game, for better or for worse, and if you’re going to stalk someone’s Instagram - well, you may as well do it right.
Opening a second account is one way to go about this.
'Kids' these days refer to this as a “Finsta." It is essentially a fake Instagram account and not the regular account you use (or "Rinsta.") Finstas are not supposed to be taken all that seriously. They are used to post whatever the user wants: memes, jokes, silly selfies. The users have a curated list of followers, mostly of their closest friends. Some people title their Finstas with fake account names to make it even easier to stalk other people’s accounts and Instagram stories without getting caught. No fear about accidentally liking a photo this way!
But if you don’t want to use a private account, you could always make an anonymous account that posts memes, art, whatever you can think of. Your account may even gain followers for your re-posts.
But honestly, this is a bit much for someone in their late 20s and 30s who have lives and DGAF about creating a whole other profile. You just want to be able to see your ex-lover's story and view their profile without getting caught. We got you.
For the record: profile views and how many times you viewed a photo are all anonymous. Business accounts can see how many times a photo or profile was viewed but they can’t see who did the viewing. No third party app has access to that either, so don’t buy into that. The only thing where views are visible is with Instagram Stories.
(Disclaimer: Someone can potentially tell if you’re viewing their profile on Facebook if you're not already friends. This is thanks in part to FB's algorithm which allows people who have been viewing your profile to show up under "Friends You May Know." But even then there’s no clear cut way to see exactly who did view your profile. It’s a bit of a guess.)
There are two ways to view someone’s stories without being obviously caught.
First there is “peeking." This method begins by opening either the story before or after the story you want to creep on. Pause that story in your Instagram app. And after you've held the story in place, you can begin to slide that story aside to "peek" into the window of the story you really want to see, but don't slide it all the way open otherwise your visit will register. (Snapshots of the spying technique are in the link above.)
But if you're looking for a more efficient way to creep, Storiesig.com is the best way to go. It allows you to look at the user's story in a web browser without getting caught. You can also download someone's story.
Here’s the thing though - be cautious, use an incognito web browser, and make sure you’re not signed in to Instagram when you do. You’re supposedly able to view in any web browser and it's fine, but let’s just cut to the chase - if you weren't concerned about your view being counted you would just click on the story and not use a web browser, so you may as well take a little precaution.
Another thing to check: if you lurked and got so deep you don't even know if you accidentally liked something or not. You can check this in account settings. Go to your profile and click the three dots at the top right corner. Under "Account" there will be something that says "Posts You've Liked." Click on that and it will have all of your liked posts.
You can unlike something if you've liked it, just remember there's a number of people who receive phone notifications and if you liked something they'll be able to see it even if you unliked it. It may disappear on their Instagram notifications, but the phone notification will stay.
One more thing thing: be mindful of the "Follow" button. Hailey Baldwin just got in some hot water for accidentally following a Selena Gomez fan account. Don't be Hailey Baldwin - watch what your thumb touches.
Final tip: we don't really condone stalking your ex on social media. We don’t know why you guys broke up, but life is easier when you move on. You’re better off. Whoever did the breaking up, whatever happened between you two, it doesn’t matter, just accept the loss, move on, and look for the new gain. You got this. Plus, science has shown stalking your ex on social media actually makes it more difficult to move on from them, so especially if the breakup is recent: detox, detox, detox. Social media will only hurt, not help, in this situation.