Instagram opened on a phone.

Finstas are a big talking point for teenagers and local news channels, but what are they? Why do kids make them, and how do you use one?

What Is It?

Most people have only one Instagram account, but sometimes, people make an additional one. These fake Instagram accounts are referred to as “Finstas.” They’re usually secretive, anonymous, or full of images that aren’t relevant to a person’s primary account.

Some people create Finstas to keep certain posts or stories from being public. While anyone—including strangers or coworkers—can see a regular Instagram (“Rinsta”) account, a Finsta is only available to select friends or family.

Of course, some Finstas are absolutely secret. You might create one to hide photos, stories, or activities from certain friends or family members, or to browse and comment anonymously on Instagram posts.

Sometimes, though, people use a Finsta to host memes, vacation videos, or cool art pieces. They’re part of the Instagram experience and have made things like pet accounts possible. So, why do Finstas get such bad press?

Finstas Aren’t a Bad Thing

A woman's hand holding a phone with a picture of a girl on it.
Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

Extra accounts have always been a useful way to maintain privacy, act anonymously, or have a bit of fun online. Finstas are nothing new; it’s just another iteration of a trend that’s been around since bulletin boards and IRCs.

However, that doesn’t make Finstas seem any less dubious. Why would anyone—especially a teenager—need to keep secret or private photos on the Internet? Can’t you just set your Instagram account to “private” or “friends only?”

Most private photos aren’t raunchy, offensive, or embarrassing—they’re just private. Instagram is a great place to share photos with friends or family members, but it’s also an open forum for acquaintances, strangers, or potential employers to look into your life. A Finsta allows people to share personal images that, in the past, would’ve been shared in a scrapbook or picture frame.

So, that doesn’t sound too bad, right? Maybe it’s time to make your own Finsta!

How to Make and Manage a Finsta

A man looking at his laptop.

Making and managing a Finsta is easier than ever. Like Twitter, you can access multiple Instagram accounts from the Instagram app without dancing through login screens. It’s as easy as pushing a button.

Here’s how to make a Finsta:

  1. Open the Instagram app.
  2. Go to your profile (the bottom right icon next to the heart).
  3. Tap the three lines at the top-right corner of “Your Profile” to open the Profile menu.
  4. Tap the Settings icon at the bottom of the Profile menu.
  5. Scroll down and tap “Add Account.”
  6. Create a new account.

Now that you have a new Instagram account, here’s how you switch between the accounts on your app:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Tap your username at the top-left of the screen.
  3. Choose the account to which you want to switch.

That’s all there is to it! If you want to hide your account from strangers, go to the Privacy Settings and set your account to private.

You can have up to five accounts on the Instagram app, so feel free to make a Finsta for pictures of your pets, too. You never know—your cat might become Instafamous!

Profile Photo for Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew Heinzman writes for How-To Geek and Review Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers.
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