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Can You Hide Who You Follow on Instagram in 2023? A Cybersecurity Pro‘s Guide

Instagram has over a billion active users who share their lives through photos, videos, reels and stories. But how many of them really want everyone knowing who they follow on the platform? The answer is likely not many.

While Instagram provides a fun way to share your world, it also opens up your social connections for anyone to see. As cybersecurity and privacy concerns grow, many Instagram users are wondering:

Can you hide who you follow on Instagram in 2023?

The short answer is no…at least not natively. Unlike other platforms like Facebook that allow you to hide your friends list, Instagram currently does not have a built-in feature to conceal your following list from others.

But don‘t delete your Instagram just yet! With the right techniques, you can essentially hide who you follow on Instagram and take control of your privacy.

As an experienced cybersecurity professional myself, I totally get wanting more control over your digital footprint. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explore the ins and outs of hiding your Instagram following activity in 2023 and beyond. Let‘s dive in!

Why Hide Your Instagram Following List?

Before examining how to hide who you follow on Instagram, it‘s important to understand why so many users want this privacy control.

According to a 2022 Pew Research study, 61% of adults say they have changed their social media privacy settings due to data privacy concerns. Additionally, 57% have taken breaks from checking social media because it felt overwhelming or frustrating.

When you post content on social platforms like Instagram, you‘re exposing personal information – your location, habits, interests, and connections. For many, this exposure feels invasive.

Here are some of the top reasons people want to hide their Instagram following list:

  • Avoid arguments about controversial follows. You may follow politicians, celebrities, or influencers that don‘t align with a friend or family member‘s values. Hiding your follows avoids unnecessary debates.

  • Keep niche interests private. Your guilty pleasure reality TV or K-pop fan accounts are for your eyes only.

  • Maintain professional reputation. Following certain accounts could be misinterpreted by colleagues or clients. Keep your business connects separate.

  • Prevent snooping from exes or former friends. We all have old connections we‘d rather keep in the past. No need to broadcast who you‘ve moved on from.

  • Separate private and public personas. The accounts that reflect your true self may not match the curated image you share publicly on Instagram.

According to a 2022 OkCupid study, 88% of Gen Z daters admit to snooping on the Instagram follows of potential partners. Who you follow can shape others‘ perceptions, for better or worse.

Ultimately, we should all have control over our digital lives. So how can you gain more privacy over your Instagram connections?

Can You Hide Your Following List on Instagram?

Let‘s start with what Instagram does and does not allow regarding your following list privacy.

When you visit someone‘s Instagram profile, their following number and full list of followed accounts are publicly visible. There is no menu or settings option to hide this list from others.

The only exception is if the user has a private account. Private profiles require requesting approval to follow them, limiting their content and info visibility.

Image showing public Instagram profile's visible following list

A public Instagram profile displays the accounts they follow for all to see. Image source

So in the case of a standard public Instagram profile, there is no native way to conceal who you follow from other users. This can become problematic as we‘ve discussed.

Instagram does allow hiding your followers list, so others can‘t see who follows you. But the platform has yet to introduce a reciprocal "hide following" option.

Short answer: No, Instagram does not have a built-in feature to hide your following list.

But that doesn‘t mean you‘re stuck with a fully public following activity log! There are proven methods to essentially hide who you follow on Instagram from others. Let‘s explore how.

Clever Ways to Hide Your Instagram Following List

While Instagram keeps your following list public by default, you aren‘t completely powerless when it comes to controlling others‘ access.

Through creative privacy measures, you can conceal who you follow on Instagram in 2023:

Five options to hide Instagram following list

Let‘s go through each of these workarounds in more detail:

1. Make Your Account Private

The most straightforward method to hide your following list on Instagram is to make your account private. Here‘s how:

  • Go to your profile and tap the hamburger menu (three lines) in the top right corner.
  • Select "Settings" then go to "Privacy > Account Privacy".
  • Toggle "Private Account" on.

This will prompt any new followers to send a request that you must approve before they can see your profile or posts.

Your existing followers will remain unchanged. However, non-followers will only see your bio, profile photo, and number of posts. Making your account private hides the list of who you follow from public view.


  • Quick and easy privacy switch.
  • You control who can follow and view your account.
  • Temporary solution if you only want to go private for a period.


  • Limits your audience as discovery is restricted.
  • Any removed followers could resubmit a request and see your following list again if you go back to public.

Making your account private is the simplest way to gain more control over who can access your Instagram activity. I‘d recommend it if you‘re concerned about non-followers seeing your connections, but don‘t necessarily want to lose followers.

2. Remove Specific Followers

If your aim is to conceal your following list from certain existing followers, you can simply remove them from accessing your account. Here‘s how:

  • Go to your profile and tap on "Followers".
  • Search for the follower you want to block access for.
  • Tap the "Remove" button next to their username.

This will unfollow them if you also followed them previously. Once removed as a follower, they will no longer see your private content or following list. You can also permanently block them if desired.


  • Selectively hides your activity from certain followers.
  • They won‘t be notified that you removed them.


  • Only works on existing followers.
  • If you later make your profile public again, they could re-follow you and see your following list once more.

Removing followers gives you more precision in who can see your activity over making your full account private. Use it when specific followers are the issue, and you still want a public profile.

3. Block Unwanted Followers or Users

Taking blocking one step further from just removing a follower, you can fully block certain users from interacting with your account at all. Here‘s how blocking works on Instagram:

  • Go to the profile page of the person you wish to block.
  • Tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner.
  • Select "Block" and confirm when prompted.

Blocking prevents the user from viewing or commenting on any of your content. Your profile, posts, Stories, and following list will all be invisible to blocked accounts.

You also won‘t see any of their activity or receive messages. It‘s the most permanent way to cut off access.


  • Totally removes someone‘s ability to access your profile and following list.
  • Out of sight, out of mind – they can‘t interact with your account at all.


  • Damages relationship with blocked users.
  • Blocking is difficult to undo – you may regret blocking certain people.

I‘d reserve blocking for extreme cases of harassment or toxicity where you need to completely cut someone off from your digital space. Use removing or restricting Story access for less serious scenarios.

4. Use Third-Party Instagram Monitoring Tools

Some third-party social media tools allow you to monitor Instagram accounts discreetly:

  • Social Blade – Track analytics and stats on profiles.
  • BuzzSumo – Analyze influencer accounts and hashtag performance.
  • Tailwind – See Instagram Stories without officially following.

These tools let you lurk and interact with accounts under the radar. You can search hashtags, view Stories, and get profile insights without those accounts being linked publicly to your following list or activity.


  • Allows anonymous monitoring without impacting your main profile‘s following list.
  • Can interact with niche accounts without revealing them to your broader audience.


  • Features more limited compared to native Instagram app.
  • Need to research tools‘ credibility and be cautious sharing your login credentials.

Third-party tools certainly aren‘t for everyone given privacy implications of providing access. But they offer an "over-the-shoulder" view if you want to keep tabs on certain accounts on the down low.

5. Create a Secondary "Finsta" Account

Finstas, or "fake Instagrams", are secondary accounts people use to follow more private interests. Here‘s how to set one up:

  • Sign up for a new account with an anonymous username and profile photo.
  • Follow your desired accounts from this separate profile, not your main one.
  • Use a different email and don‘t connect to other social media.

Essentially, this allows you to follow accounts without anything being publicly traceable back to your real identity. I don‘t recommend connecting finstas to your actual contacts or followers.


  • Full privacy for following whatever accounts you want.
  • No risk of your interests being associated with you.


  • Managing two accounts can be time-consuming.
  • Instagram‘s algorithm favors original accounts, so less reach.

If you take the time to set up an anonymous finsta account, it can be the most effective method for a completely hidden following experience. Just don‘t go overboard with follow requests from a sketchy-looking account!

Tips for Business Accounts

Hiding your Instagram following gets trickier if you have an Instagram business profile. These accounts are designed for public access, so you cannot easily make them private.

However, you still have a few options as a business profile:

  • Block specific followers you wish to hide your activity from.
  • Use a third-party analytics tool like Iconosquare to monitor competitors privately.
  • Create a separate finsta account solely for market research purposes.

Avoid completely blocking potential customers or partners if possible though. Temporary restriction or just monitoring their account may be safer business-wise. Segment your business and personal connections where possible.

Controlling Your Story Privacy

While you cannot restrict your main following list, Instagram does give you granular control over your Story privacy:

  • In Settings > Privacy > Story, you can hide your Story from specific followers.

  • When posting a Story, choose "Close Friends" instead of "Public" to limit visibility.

Use these tools to share more private Story content with only your inner circle. Stories disappear after 24 hours anyway so they are ideal for temporary connections.

Combine Story restrictions with the other methods above to maximize control over who interacts with you on Instagram. Every little bit of privacy counts!

Owning Your Privacy as an Online Cybersecurity Pro

As digital security and privacy concerns mount in 2023, we need to take responsibility for our online footprints. While Instagram makes it challenging to hide your following list, this guide outlines the tools available now to conceal your activity.

Here are a few key takeaways as an cybersecurity expert and social media user myself:

  • Start by auditing your following list. Do you feel comfortable with every account being public? Are there any that could be misinterpreted?

  • Evaluate your goals. Do you need to hide your activity from a few specific people or the general public? This determines the best approach.

  • Combine different methods. A hybrid of account privacy settings, blocking tools, third-party apps and secondary accounts gives you flexibility.

  • Revisit regularly. Continue to assess your privacy needs as Instagram evolves. What‘s visible today may change.

  • Own your digital footprint. At the end of the day, staying aware of what you post and who can interact with your account keeps your data secure.

Hiding your Instagram following activity takes effort, but promotes your personal brand and identity. As cybersecurity analyst Carey van Vlaanderen says, "We need to return to a place where individuals see themselves as owners of their data."

I hope this guide empowers you to take control of your Instagram privacy. Let me know if you have any other questions!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.