F.O.M.O. and also the fear of being aleniated

Yesterday I was out with friends(group of 8-9 people) hanging out and we clicked a lot of photos. but only few photos were shared in signal. I asked one of my friend to upload photos on mega(we do have a collaborative account where we keep our group’s photos and we have decided that as soon as we will get into a univ we will host a private cloud)
but only few people in my friend circle care about privacy and security. In my friend circle most of the people are on Instagram and snapchat I understand that both of these app are not privacy respecting but still yesterday I was thinking that, I miss a lot of trends in my high school just because of not using these platforms and I should be on at least one of them as I don’t want to be alienated from the world but would still love to have a good privacy and security centric tech usage.
Your thoughts?
Thanks to everyone in advance.


Maybe go for disinformation instead? Like Use Instagram with Mull/FIrefox on android with uBO. Give a false date for birthday. Use An email alias and so on. Some privacy is better than no privacy IMHO.

This is incredibly valid, and it’s a bummer some people in the privacy community dismiss this issue entirely. (I see a lot of “Well they aren’t real friends if they don’t keep you in the loop via 23 proxies on Briar” kind of energy, which makes me think they don’t have many successful friendships :stuck_out_tongue:)

Last night I met up with a high school friend of mine. She opened Snapchat and I asked her if I could see the stories for some of my friends I haven’t seen in a long time. It was wild! Made me realize how many updates and stories I was missing (even for some people I had on Signal!)

I believe it’s ultimately a question of compromises and priorities. It’s no secret that taking any step towards privacy & security will have compromises. Whether it’s convenience, loss of connection, etc.

Some things to throw your way:

  • Communicate with the group how you feel and explain to them your situation. I’d kindly ask them if there’s any way for them to easily keep you in the loop on things in a way that’s not terribly inconvenient for them.
  • This friend I met up with last night is an angel and actively fills me in on things happening with others. I’m not sure if there’s an individual in your group that you’re closer to, but if there’s even a single person you can rely on to fill you in on missing details, that can help a lot! So they can forward things on behalf of the group to you and be a messenger of sorts?
  • The obvious solution here is you need to compromise. Do you have an old phone laying around? Snapchat only requires an email last I checked. If it lives on its own device with a pseudo email and limited permissions, I would think this should fit the majority of threat models for people. Snapchat recently released a web app as well for desktop, though fair warning it’s incredibly limited. (and still requires the app to create the account) If you really wanted to treat this seriously, you could even set up an Android VM via Android Studio and just use Snapchat there. Instagram is a bit harder because it’ll probably require a phone number, but the general concept still applies. Totally in your court if you’d actually post/take images with any of these apps.

I would probably have these accounts myself for similar reasons as you, but I avoid them because I personally don’t find the connection and updates justify being on the platform in any capacity. But that’s 100% my personal journey, and I think that if your main concern is privacy/security - you most likely can make this work with your threat model.


let’s put point for a point so for this many of friends are on signal but as you said earlier many people still while being on signal are not as active as they are on other platforms(matter of habit)

well I can do this but the thing is that I don’t want to rely on someone like that it looks it a bit odd but yeah sometimes news trickles down in this method.

yeah i’ll find methods to privately run one of these app or well just find something to be part of the sane world :slight_smile:

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Yes, you could setting up an Instagram/Snapchat account in a Work Profile if you’re on Android.
Use an e-mail aliases as the email, try to not put your phone number.
Don’t use your real name and your real date of birth, revoke every permissions (Camera, location, etc…), use a profile pic that isn’t you.
I would also considering deactivating notifications, avoid DM as much as possible, and setting up time limit. Only follows things you really want to see ! Don’t post or at least clean your metadata before and remember once it is posted it’s forever online.
You also could get further by setting up your account (and using it) with a privacy respecting VPN.
On GrapheneOS or CalyxOS you can set the app to only have internet access while you’re connecting to a VPN so you won’t leak data (maybe NetGuard app on Stock Android ?). To be honest I don’t think this will be really useful as the platform you’ll use will know your circle of friends but if you already have a VPN it shouldn’t hurt that much to use it.

On Android there is a modded apk called Instander that claims to blocks trackers but use it as your own risks since it’s a modded apk it can’t be open source. You are better using the WebApp either on Native Alpha or a regular browser.
Keep in mind that Firefox-based browser don’t support per-site isolation on Android but you can install uBlock Origin on them. Chromium browser supports per-site isolation but do not support extension so brave/bromite (vanadium on GrapheneOS) should blocks some trackers without the need of extensions. So use either Mull+uBlock Origin only for Instagram or any chromium browser mentioned above.

On iOS you could use the WebApp through Safari with AdGuard.

For snapchat you have to install their invasive app (as far as I am aware of) so I would prefer to use the Zuck plateform.

First This is thoughts and nothing else. Do not take this is advice.

Instagram has one huge problem: You need a phone numbs to register. I have tried to sign up, but with only a mail address (no VPN Or something like that) on a Samsung device with no custom ROM, they banned me if I didnt proride them a phone number. So from a privacy perspective Instagram is not easy to use.

This now leads into the problem of “my friends are not into privacy, so they are not real friends.”

I see the following options:

  1. get a second phone numbs for Instagram. This will probably cost you around $10
  2. Talk with your friends, these might be someone who can forward these pictures to you on Signal Note: This is only a temporary solution
  3. Give up on privacy and sign up on Instagram with your real number.

Note: Only use social media in a non-admin profile you can close after usage.

Yeah just to echo what @Raznick shared, Snapchat is probably one of the most accessible platforms regarding private signups. (Disclaimer: I’m strictly referring to PII required for registration and the chances for success in using pseudonymous information)

If OP only has a single platform to dedicate themselves to, that’s the easiest one to utilize. Especially now that there is a PWA for desktop that can be used for basic things independent of a phone.

After a short test, you apparently can ever use it with a fake e-mail address. Looks like Snapchat might be the best option.

well guess what i was just testing and was successful in making insta id with only a mail that i just created for this purpose.(evil laughs)

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Yes I think it depends on the country you are in