One would assume that they have effectively unlinked their Facebook profile from the Instagram account but it is not the case.
If you go to the settings tab on Instagram you will find that it includes a section devoted to the ‘Linked Accounts’ tool under the ‘Account’ tab. The linked accounts are basically your other social media profiles like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook which have been connected to Instagram.
The feature seems self-explanatory; apps which have not been linked are in gray while linked apps are shown in color. However, there is a slightly different rule when it comes to Facebook, the parent company of Instagram.
Similar to other apps under the Linked Accounts on Instagram, the option to link your Facebook profile is disabled by default. Users must first click on the app’s grey logo and sign in so that Instagram connects the two profiles.
One also has the option to “Unlink Account”, clicking on which brings up a message: “Unlinking makes it harder to get access to your Instagram account if you get locked out.”
After doing this, one would assume that they have effectively unlinked their Facebook profile from the Instagram account. However, this is not the case. A Facebook spokesperson told WIRED that clicking Unlink Account does not actually unlink the two accounts. The report stated that it is not possible to disconnect the two accounts.
Even when a user has never manually linked their Facebook and Instagram accounts, they are essentially connected and will stay that way, no matter how many times you tap “Unlink Account.”
That’s because the data Facebook collects through multiple platforms is enough to identify users’ various accounts and link them to each other. And this holds true in cases where a different user name, email address, or handset was used to create accounts, for example, an old WhatsApp profile or fake Instagram account.
The Facebook spokesperson also told WIRED that linking or delinking Facebook and Instagram accounts does not affect the fact that both share technology framework, systems and infrastructure and hence Facebook ends up collecting the information about the user activities across its platforms.
This disclosure in the WIRED report appears as Facebook goes ahead with its grand plan of combining Instagram and WhatsApp along with Facebook Messenger. It must be noted that both Instagram and WhatsApp apps were previously independent. Facebook had acquired Instagram in 2012 and took over WhatsApp in 2014.