If you search someone on Instagram will they know

December 20, 2022

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If you search someone on Instagram will they know

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So, you've just been stalking someone on Instagram and now you've got the fear? Who was it? Your ex, your crush, your nemesis? Why else would you be here, right? Don't worry! Your secret is safe with us! Obviously, you're asking yourself if you search someone on Instagram, will they know. The answer to that question basically depends on which of their content you've been looking at.

“Stalking” someone on social media is completely normal and I'm sure most people have indulged in it at some point in the past. It's only natural that people want to see what's going on with their ex or look longingly at pictures of that person you have a crush on. Maybe you want to have a sneaky look at what your boss gets up to at the weekend. It's part of the reason why social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram were invented in the first place if the film the Social Network is anything to go by.

It's also completely natural to get the fear of them finding out that you've been scrolling through their Instagram profile. It would be a pretty embarrassing conversation in the office the next morning if your boss knew you were seeing what they're up to in their free time. So, will they be aware that you've been checking them out. Well, I have some good news and some bad news.

The Good News

The good news is that people won't be able to tell if you've looked up their profile. They also won't be able to tell if you've looked through standard pictures on their main feed meaning you can stalk them to your hearts content. This of course goes both ways, and you won't be able to see who has been viewing your account.

This includes carousel posts. A carousel is where you can put several pictures into one post including videos. You can recognise them by the double – layered squares icon in the top right of the picture. If you're flicking through a carousel and you come across a video embedded in it, the poster won't know that you've watched it.

It has never been possible to see who's been looking at your page on Instagram. Although Instagram's algorithm knows what you've been doing, it won't share that information with anyone else. Even business accounts who can see analytics for their pages, can't actually see user profile information. It seems highly unlikely that they will change this policy either. It would certainly have a massive impact on user habits and could potentially reduce the amount of time people spend on the platform. There are also no third-party apps that can effectively let people know that you've been looking at someone's profile. Therefore, you can rest assured that a casual creep on someone's profile will have no ramifications!

But before you shut this page and go back to secretly scrolling through other people's profiles, it's not all plain sailing. Read on!!!

The Bad news

Don't get too carried away just yet, because unfortunately, Instagram is not completely stalker friendly! While you can look at profiles and photos consequence free, other forms of content do let that person know you've been looking at them. These include videos and stories. If you look at either of these, that person can see that you've viewed it. In order to avoid detection, it's best to stay away from both of these!

Here are some things to be aware of before you go nosing around someone's profile…

Only a Fool Ignores the 3 Second Rule

Some people may have videos on their regular feed, and as you're scrolling through their photos, you may accidentally start watching it without realising. In this case, you have 3 seconds to get out! If you spend 3 seconds or longer on a video it will be counted as a view and the person will know you have been watching it. As my driving instructor used to say, only a fool ignores the 3 second rule!

Stop Scrollin', Scrollin,' Scrollin', Whaaaatt!

Stop Scrollin', Scrollin,' Scrollin', Whaaaatt!

In order to avoid accidentally coming across videos, I would firstly recommend viewing people's profiles in grid mode and selecting photos individually. That way you can see if something is a video as it will have a small movie icon in the top right corner. Avoid those ones like the plague if you don't want to get busted! In a nutshell, don't just click into the first photo and start scrolling, as a video may pop up on you by surprise! While you do have the comfort of 3 seconds to move on, you don't want to panic and do something worse like accidentally liking their post.

What's the Story?

Unfortunately, Instagram Stories are a no-go area for profile snoops too. Stories have been a popular feature on Instagram since 2016. They allow people to upload snippets of their life throughout the day as photos or videos. A story will only stay on someone's profile for 24 hours unless they make it into a highlight. Many people now use this as their daily means of posting content and don't share to their feed as often.

While this may make it extremely enticing to see what's going on in someone's day to day life, that person will know you've been looking at their story. There is a viewers list option that each user can select to see who has watched it. If you want to avoid the detection stay out of there!

As a side note, if you're looking at the story of someone you actually follow, they won't know if you've screenshotted one of their pictures, but they will of course know that you've viewed the story.


Most of us are guilty of wanting to take a sneaky peek at someone else's Instagram profile without them knowing. It's completely normal even if we feel like we're doing something we shouldn't be. It's also natural to develop a bit of paranoia about being caught.

If you want to avoid those potentially awkward situations, it's important to know what you can and can't get away with. As far as Instagram goes, feel free to check out people's profiles and photos (including carousels) without facing repercussions. It's important to avoid videos and stories though, as people will find out that you have viewed them. As a wise man once said; “If you're going to stalk, stalk cleverly!” (Disclaimer: I'm pretty sure no one ever said that)

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