Social Media
Here's how people can tell when you've seen their Instagram or Snapchat Story.

Here Are All The Ways People Know You're Lurking On Snapchat And IG

You might not be as sneaky as you think.

by Sheena Sharma and Marisa Casciano
Originally Published: 
Francesco Carta fotografo/Moment/Getty Images

Even if you’ve been using Snapchat and Instagram for years, you may not know how they *actually* work. The social media apps are constantly rolling out new updates, making it much harder to hack the algorithm, use every feature, and answer common questions like, “Can someone see if you view their Snapchat profile?” or “Does someone know if you check their Snapchat score?” However, knowing the answers to those questions is essential, so you don’t get caught looking like an Insta stalker while you’re lurking on your crush, former BFF, or high school boyfriend.

Though you may want to strike up a conversation with your new love interest, you probably don’t want a digital stalking mission to be the reason why you two start texting. You’d rather slide into their DMs knowingly, and ask them about their day or tell them they look cute in their latest selfie. (Liking a picture from 2015? Big yikes!) All too often, people don’t know what they don’t know, and they don’t know they’re notifying the person on the other side of the screen every time they click here or tap there.

For instance, on certain apps, taking a screenshot of a Story alerts them. On others, viewing a Story is all it takes to make that person aware of your Internet presence. In some cases, you can peruse content and be totally incognito, thanks to recent updates. In others, you’re only able to see certain information before you have to tap the “follow” button or befriend that person online. Here’s everything you need to know about the ways people know you're stalking them on Snapchat and Instagram. Go forward wisely and without harming anyone, friends.

Can Someone See If You View Their Snapchat Profile?

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Let’s get right into it. If you view someone’s Snapchat profile — say, to look at their Snapchat score, username, or any photos and messages saved in your chat with them — they aren’t notified. You can peruse this page at your leisure, and the app won’t throw you under the bus. However, you cannot screenshot a profile. Like any page on Snapchat, a user will be notified if you screenshot their profile, as friendships are private on Snapchat.

They’ll also be notified if you watch or screenshot their Story. Snapchat Stories work very similarly to Instagram Stories, where someone can upload a photo or video that’ll stay on the app for 24 hours or until they delete it. (Snapchat Stories actually came first, if you can believe it!) In the year 2021, you can see which of your friends have viewed your Story by tapping on the eyeball button and scrolling down. If you’re the “stalker,” you can watch people’s Stories by heading to the friends tab or clicking on the Snapchat map.

Some users will link their Stories to their Bitmoji, so you’ll see a picture or video in a bubble above their head. If you click on that bubble, you’ll watch their Story and they’ll be notified, as if you watched the Story through the friends tab. So, be careful!

Does Someone Know If You Checked Their Snapchat Location?

Snap Maps allows people to see where you are in the world, if you enable it. Some users that you’re friends with may not appear on this portion of the app, simply because they did not activate this feature. From a “stalking” perspective, a person is not notified if you tap on their Bitmoji and see where they are. However, they are notified if you watch the Story attached to their Bitmoji.

For that reason, it’s best to just zoom in and out on the map and not tap anything. Tapping will only show you how long ago they were active and a close-up of their likely #fire outfit.

Can Someone Tell If You Watched Their Instagram Story?

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TBH, Instagram is equally as revealing as Snapchat. Users are now able to see who viewed their Story for the 24 hours it’s live, and not just how many people viewed their Story. Whether you watch the Story of someone you follow or not, they’ll be able to scroll through a long list of usernames and tap on your profile. This is the case even if your own account is private.

There’s only one catch: After 24 hours, a user can’t see the exact usernames that viewed their Story. At this point, Instagram only tells you how many people viewed your Story, whether it’s archived or added to a highlight. If you’re snooping on your crush, it’s best to watch their older highlights. However, be sure to look at the date stamp at the top, so you know when recently-posted Stories are coming up. Stories can be added to highlights even when they’re live!

Is Someone Notified When You Screenshot Their Instagram Story?

Last but certainly not least, a user is not notified when you screenshot their Instagram Story. You can capture a cute picture your crush posted and send it to your BFF in a text message without any repercussions. Unlike Snapchat, this social media app is much more discreet that way, and it doesn’t even notify the original user if you send a Story in-app to another user.

Now, if you want to send someone a picture from their feed via direct messages, then the user is notified. Well, kind of. They’re alerted that the post has been sent, but your identity isn’t totally revealed. In other words, you’re safe and sound — unless you like the pic yourself. (I’m cringing just thinking about it.)

Happy lurking, everyone!

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.

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