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What is the ‘Instagram Wrapped’ trend and is it safe to use?

The “Instagram Wrapped” trend is letting social media users review their yearly Instagram stats — something the app hasn’t offered in the past. While some people can’t wait to look back on their 2023 highlights, others aren’t so sure that it’s actually safe.

On its surface, the trend is similar to Spotify Wrapped, which has become wildly popular for allowing users to review their most listened-to songs, albums and podcasts from the past year. The feature famously stops collecting data for the year in October, then releases that information in December. That’s when many people start to share their top listens on social media and compare favorites.

In fact, the feature grew so popular that it even spawned other social media year-in-reviews, including YouTube Recaps and TikTok’s “Year on TikTok.” According to some users, Instagram Wrapped isn’t like the others.

For one thing, it isn’t an in-app feature, nor did Instagram’s parent company, Meta, create it. Instead, you can only access the Instagram Wrapped report by downloading a third-party app known as Wrapped, which Wrapped Labs LLC owns.

According to the App Store, the results show users who their “top friends” were this year, who they interacted with the most and which of their Instagram stories were the most popular. But that, too, has raised some red flags since Instagram’s data policy is notoriously strict when it comes to sharing private information.

Now that the trend has gone viral, many users are warning others to stay away.

“I’m 90% sure it’s inaccurate,” wrote u/Pigeon_0v0/ in a Reddit thread about the app. “I just downloaded it and every time I logged into my account and looked at the numbers, it changed. Most drastic was the number of people who have apparently blocked me which went from 1 to 2 then 12 in the span of 5 minutes. Wouldn’t trust it!”

On the App Store, multiple customer reviews say similar things.

“I’m not sure exactly how it works, but there’s a ton of speculation that when you link your account it downloads all of your history and is used to hack you,” wrote one anonymous reviewer, who said it “isn’t worth the theft of your data.”

Another reviewer, who identified themselves only as “Some girl w a phone,” called the whole thing “False news!!!”

In the App Store, a disclaimer about Wrapped states that “the developer does not collect any data from this app.” However, a deeper dive into the privacy policy seems to say otherwise.

“For a better experience, while using our Service, we may require you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information,” the document reads. “The information that we request will be retained by us and used as described in this privacy policy.”

The policy also claims that while Wrapped does its best to protect each user’s personal information, it “cannot guarantee its absolute security” — something users should definitely be aware of before they consider downloading.

That said, this isn’t the first time that a trendy new app has raised privacy concerns.

In 2020, the Russian-owned app known as FaceApp went mega-viral for showing people what they could potentially look like in 50 years. However, the craze eventually led the FBI to warn the public against downloading it, calling FaceApp and other Russian-developed apps like it a “potential counterintelligence threat” because they can retain access to private data, including photos, well after their use.

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