If you’re trying to unlink your Facebook from your Instagram, you’ve probably seen a host of headlines which claim to tell you how to do it. However, it’s actually impossible—even though it looks like you should be able to do it. Facebook and Instagram are now so integrated that they won’t allow you to unlink your accounts, even if you never actually linked them in the first place.
How you’re supposed to unlink Facebook from Instagram
Here are the steps you’re probably seeing on every tech guide which claims to tell you how to unlink Facebook from Instagram:
- Log into Instagram and go to your profile.
- Select the utility icon and then choose “Settings.”
- Scroll down to “Linked Account.”
- Under Facebook, select “unlink Facebook.”
And that’s supposed to be all you need to do. It looks like a very simple, straightforward process. However, many people who have tried this process discover that their accounts don’t actually unlink, no matter how times they tap or click that “unlink Facebook” button. Don’t worry. You’re not doing anything wrong. It’s just not possible.
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Why it doesn’t actually work
A Facebook spokesperson admitted to Wired that it’s actually impossible to unlink Facebook from Instagram. Even users who never purposely linked their Facebook and Instagram accounts will find that they are connected. The spokesperson said it’s because the two social networks “share infrastructure, systems and technology.” All that sharing enables them to connect information about users’ activities across their services “based on a variety of signals.”
“Linking or unlinking your accounts in the app doesn’t affect this,” the spokesperson admitted.
Facebook has been working on integrating its family of apps more tightly, as demonstrated by the recently rebranded “Instagram from Facebook” and “WhatsApp from Facebook.” Although signs of tighter integration between Facebook and the apps it acquired recently started to grow, the Facebook spokesperson told Wired that the linking has been going on much longer.
The person said they started linking accounts behind the scenes based on data collected from users not long after the acquisition in 2012. The representative said their goal is to provide a “personalized experience” across all of Facebook’s apps by offering better ad targeting or in-app recommendations based on activities across all platforms. This makes it easier for users to find people they connect with on the other apps, but it could pose concerns about privacy for those who would rather keep their accounts separated.