Fake + Instagram = Finstagram. A Finstagram account (or, as the in kids call it, their ‘finsta’) is a second, fake Instagram account that people use to post those pictures that they don’t really want publicly associated with them. You know, embarrasing photos, slutty videos, you get the idea.
So you have one real Instagram (“rinsta”) account, and one finsta. As 17-year-old Eric, a teen social media author over at Medium.com explains, “…finsta is sort of a combination between the content you would post on snapchat inside the instagram app.”
According to some, this is much more common among girls – so common, in fact, that it is now the norm, not the exception.
So, really, why?
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Explains one 18-year-old girl featured in an Elle magazine article about the Finstagram phenomena, “My rinsta is the filtered me — it’s how I often want people to perceive me. It’s where I look good in my pictures, I’m happy, and I’m having fun. My finsta also shows that, sometimes even more than my rinsta because it’s so genuine, but it also shows me sad, scared, drunk, or embarrassed.”
Long before Finstagram meant fake Instagram accounts, though, it meant something else: It was a Tumblr feed where people posted pictures of sharks (get it? Sharks… fins.. finstagram). That’s why, if you search for Finstagram images, you see lots of pictures of sharks.
Then, there are the people who should have used a finsta, for example New York representative Chris Lee, whose shirtless selfie sent to a woman on Craiglist got him fired (and probably divorced), or the other New York representative, Anthony Weiner, whose picture of his lap was his downfall.
All joking aside, the bad news is that, according to sources, including the Elle article and information from the Horace Mann K-12 school in New York, it’s the younger kids who are finstaing.
And when we say ‘younger’, we mean, ages 9, 10, 11…
In an article in the Horace Mann school paper [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead], 11-year-old Lulu is quoted as saying that “My finsta is a place where I can be the weirdest version of myself without worrying about the social repercussions,” and another Horace Mann student, 10-year-old Isabel explains that the appeal of a finsta account is that “You don’t have to care what it looks like, whether it’s cool, or what app you use.”
This suggests a concerning level of app use in the below-teen set, one that is likely to be difficult for even the most tech-savvy parent to detect, because while they may know to ask to see their child’s Instagram feed, even if they know to ask about a finsta feed, the child can just deny having one. It may, in this day and age, defy belief that a child would have no Instagram account, but so long as they have one they can show you, it will be a lot easier to hide a second one.