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How to Change Your Privacy Settings in Threads: Step by Step

Social media privacy is top of mind for many people these days. With data breaches and hacking scandals dominating headlines, it‘s no wonder 73% of Americans feel their personal information is less secure than it was 5 years ago, according to Pew Research.

When using a new social media app like Threads, one of the first things you‘ll want to do is review and adjust your privacy settings. Customizing these options helps you maintain control over who sees your profile, posts, and activity. It also prevents unwanted interactions from strangers on the platform.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you step-by-step through changing your key privacy settings in Threads. Whether you want to lock down your entire presence or simply limit certain interactions, this guide will teach you how. My goal is to provide easy-to-follow instructions combined with expert privacy advice, so you can tailor Threads to your comfort level.

Let‘s get started securing your privacy!

Why Should You Change Your Privacy Settings in Threads?

Before we dive into the how-to, let‘s review a few important reasons why adjusting your privacy settings in Threads is so crucial:

Threads Defaults to Public Profiles

When you first create a Threads account by logging in with Instagram, your profile and posts default to being public. This means anyone on the internet can view your information and posts, regardless of whether they follow you.

For many users, leaving a totally open public profile poses privacy risks:

  • Strangers can browse and share your posts without consent.

  • Your photos, videos, and conversations have maximum exposure.

  • Spammers and bad actors can easily access your profile and target you.

According to Insider Intelligence, over 90 million US social media users say they‘ve encountered privacy violations like hacking or data misuse. Don‘t let it happen to you!

You Can Limit Public Interactions

In addition to your profile, your posts and comments are completely public by default as well. This means any Threads user can:

  • Tag or mention you in their posts/comments.

  • Follow you without approval.

  • View your follower list and who you follow.

While some interactions are fun, like tagging friends, others can feel invasive or harassing when coming from strangers on the internet.

You Can Select Your Audience

While Threads doesn‘t offer distinct friend lists like Facebook, you can still segment your audience by adjusting privacy settings.

For example, you may want to:

  • Share certain posts with close friends and family only.

  • Limit personal stories or jokes to followers only.

  • Broadcast widely to all Threads users at times.

Customizing your privacy gives you control over your audience for each post.

It Keeps Your Data More Secure

Ultimately, restricting your public information also keeps your data more secure. Identity thieves look for details like your phone number, address, birthday, etc.

The more you expose publicly, the more potential vulnerabilities you create. Locking down privacy closes those loopholes.

Step 1: Open Threads and Log In to Your Account

Before making any changes, you need to first open the Threads app and log in:

  • Download and install the Threads app from the App Store if you don‘t already have it. This is a separate app from Instagram.

  • Open Threads and tap to allow notifications if prompted. Notifications enable alerts about new messages, posts, and other activity.

  • Log in with Instagram by entering your Instagram username and password when prompted.

Threads does not allow separate or unique accounts. You log in using your existing Instagram login.

  • Tap Allow on permissions like camera, microphone, contacts, etc. This allows Threads to utilize these device features.

Once logged in, you‘ll see your Threads dashboard with the central post stream. Now we can start securing your privacy!

Threads app login screen

Log in to Threads using your Instagram username and password.

Step 2: Make Your Profile Private

The very first thing you should do is make your Threads profile private. This prevents it from being publicly visible to all Threads users. Here‘s how to do it:

  • Tap your profile icon in the bottom right corner to go to your profile.

  • Tap Edit Profile to access your profile settings.

  • Toggle on Private Account. This is the switch right under your name and handle.

  • Once you toggle it on, the switch will turn green. This means your account is now private.

  • Tap Done to save your settings.

That‘s all it takes to make your profile private! This limits visibility to only people you approve to follow you. Anyone else searching Threads won‘t be able to access your profile or posts.

According to Threads, profiles set to private:

  • Require follower requests to see posts or interact. You can approve or deny each request.

  • Don‘t appear in search, Explore page, or hashtag/location pages.

  • List of followers and who you follow is hidden.

Making your profile private is one of the quickest, most effective ways to lock down your Threads privacy.

Threads private profile switch

Toggling on the Private Account switch is the first thing you should do.

Step 3: Limit Who Can Interact with You

In addition to your overall privacy, you can also limit specific types of interactions from other users. This prevents unwanted contact while allowing you to still connect with friends.

Here are some key options to consider:

Choose Who Can Mention You

Mentions allow other accounts to tag you in their posts and comments. This exposes your handle and profile to whoever views that post.

To adjust who can mention you:

  • Tap the 3 lines icon > Settings > Privacy > Mentions

  • Select from options like:

    • Everyone: Anyone can mention you (default)

    • People You Follow: Only accounts you follow can tag you

    • Followers: Only your followers can mention you

According to a Pew Research study, 41% of US adults have experienced some form of online harassment. Limiting mentions to only followers or people you know prevents unwanted, offensive tags from strangers.

But you can still allow mentions from close friends and family to tag you in fun posts and jokes. Find the right balance for your needs.

Threads mention settings

Customize your mentions settings to limit unwanted tags.

Remove or Unfollow Followers

It‘s easy to accumulate followers on Threads, some of whom you may not know well or trust. You can view your full list and curate it:

  • Tap the 3 lines icon > Settings > Privacy > Profiles You Follow

  • This shows all accounts you follow and who follows you.

  • Tap Unfollow next to any account to stop following them.

  • Tap Remove this Follower to block an account from following you.

Social media research company Hypeauditor reports that nearly a third of users have some fake followers or fraudulent accounts tailing them.

Prune your follower list to remove:

  • Suspicious accounts.

  • Anyone you don‘t know personally.

  • Ex-friends or past connections.

This ensures only approved, trusted accounts have access to your profile.

Block Specific Accounts

In extreme cases of harassment, spam, or unwanted contact, you can completely block accounts:

  • Tap the 3 lines icon > Settings > Privacy > Blocked Profiles

  • Tap Block Users to block specific accounts.

  • Enter the username of the account you want to block.

Blocking prevents someone from viewing your profile, posts, or interacting with you whatsoever. Use it sparingly for only serious cases of unwanted contact or abuse.

Threads block users

Use the Block Users option to prevent all contact from a harassing account.

Together, these settings allow you to limit your exposure and weed out unwelcome interactions. Strike a balance between privacy and authentic connection.

Step 4: Adjust Other Key Instagram Privacy Settings

Because Threads connects directly to your Instagram account, several key privacy settings carry over between the two apps.

You can customize additional options through Instagram itself:

  • In Threads, tap the icon > Settings > Privacy > Other Privacy Settings

  • This will open your Instagram Settings where you can adjust things like:

    • Story settings: Who can view stories, reply to messages, etc.

    • Activity Status: Let others see when you‘re active or disable this.

    • Limit Comments: Filter offensive words, manually approve, or disable.

    • Tags: Control ability to tag you in photos and require approval to show.

  • Tap back to Threads when finished. Changes made will apply there.

Carefully review each setting under the Instagram Privacy tab and select the options that make sense for your needs and comfort level.

These changes will sync with Threads since the apps are intertwined. Update cautiously and be aware of effects on both platforms.

Instagram privacy settings

Adjust key settings like comments and tags under Instagram‘s Privacy tab.

Step 5: Check Threads App Permissions

A final privacy consideration is double checking what information the Threads app is allowed access to on your device:

  • Open your phone‘s Settings tab and scroll down to locate the Threads app.

  • Tap to open the Threads page. Then tap Permissions.

  • Review options like location, microphone, camera, contacts, calendar, etc.

  • Toggle off access for anything that seems unnecessary or intrusive.

I recommend closely checking permissions after every Threads app update, as changes can sometimes introduce new data gathering. Only allow what‘s critical for core functions.

Limiting permissions provides protection, as research shows 89% of Americans feel they‘ve lost control over their data. Stay vigilant!

Phone app permissions

Frequently check the app permissions to limit data gathering.

Extra Tips for Keeping Your Threads Privacy Locked Down

In addition to adjusting your settings, here are some expert tips for maintaining privacy:

  • Review settings every 1-2 months – Revisit your privacy options frequently to account for any Threads app updates.

  • Self-censor sharing – Carefully consider if you‘d want strangers viewing each post and limit oversharing.

  • Avoid location tagging – Don‘t tag precise locations which can reveal home, work, etc.

  • Use pseudonyms – Never share real name, number, email, etc. Publicly show only your handle.

  • Connect cautiously – Only approve follower requests from people you know well personally.

  • Report issues – If you notice strange activity or experience harassment, report it immediately.

Staying secure requires ongoing vigilance as risks evolve. But don‘t let privacy concerns stop you from enjoying Threads. With the right settings, you can strike the perfect balance.

Customizing Your Threads Privacy From Public to Locked Down

Threads allows impressive flexibility in controlling your settings from completely public to fully private:

  • Making your profile private should be your first action to limit visibility.

  • Carefully restricting interactions via mentions, followers, and blocking gives you granular control.

  • Cross-referencing Instagram‘s privacy tab ensures full coverage on connected accounts.

  • Monitoring app permissions prevents unnecessary data gathering.

  • Applying extra precautions like avoiding location sharing enhances safety.

Adjust and test different combinations that fit your preferences. Maintaining your privacy is an ongoing process as new risks arise. But with this guide, you now have the knowledge to lock down your Threads account and take control.