Most of us are guilty of it.

Those quizzes and memes asking you to find out into which Harry Potter House you'd likely be sorted. Or those memes tempting you to respond with your "super hero" name, which requires you to respond using your middle name and the first street you ever lived on. Etc.

The reasons we feel so compelled to participate in these online offerings is because for one thing, it's fun. Also, people enjoy "revealing" themselves to friends in these playful ways.

But here's the thing: While some of these may be benign, often these are techniques that can be used to gather private personal data.

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And regarding Instagram in particular, yeah it's a blast to share and see photos from friends and family. However, it's important to understand that it also collects your data. You may be revealing more than you'd be comfortable knowing.

Georgia de Lotz, Unsplash

So are we saying we should all cancel our Instagram accounts? Absolutely not. It's important to note that Instagram has publicly said they use the info only to make the product and user experience better, there is still some vagueness about what happens to that data.

If you'd like to err on the safe side, there are a few steps you can take, according to Consumer Reports:

Deny access to your phone contact list. There's a chance when you first set up an account on IG, it asked you to confirm whether or not the app could access your phone contact list. You may have, knowingly or not, given it the ability to access your call and log and/or text message history, too.

Quick fix: Go to IG app. Get to your profile page. Open the menu you see at the top right. Go to settings, then account/contacts syncing and switch that toggle to "off." 

On your computer browser, login to your account. Then, click on your own profile photo at the top right. Open the menu, go to settings/manage contacts and then "delete all."

Next step? Turn off your device location. Unless you specifically change this setting, there's a chance the app may be tracking your precise device location--including when you're not even using the app. If you'd prefer your particular location to be known, you might consider blocking IG's access to your GPS.

Do you mind IG knowing your precise location? Le Buzz, Unsplash

Do you mind others knowing when you're online on InstagramAnd the answer for many people is "not at all." But do be aware that unless you've specified the setting, there's a chance others on IG can see if your app is open on your phone and how recently you were last on.

And hey, if you don't mind great! However, if you're concerned an ex might be stalking you, you may not want that widely known.

Quick fix: Open the IG app and head over to your profile. Then, open the menu (top right) and head to settings/privacy/activity status--toggle "off."

Personally, I don't mind the tailored ads or friends knowing when I'm online. However, if you're concerned, these are some great first steps to take to "raise the veil" a bit more.

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