Controversy over Finsta and Sinsta Accounts

There is a hidden world inside Instagram as finstas and sinstas are becoming increasingly popular. Both finstas and sinstas are personal Instagram accounts that one holds on top of having a regular or public Instagram account. These private accounts are used for many different reasons. Most finstas are created when one wants to share more photos than they feel is necessary on their regular Instagram or they want to be more humorous than their regular Instagram.

In the case of a sinsta, the private account is likely to be used to post scandalous, revealing or inappropriate photos such as nudes or party photos.

Coos Bay police officer Mark Wheeling said students should think about what they are sharing before they post it and be aware of how easily accessible these accounts are.

“You can’t be too safe when you are making sure the content you post is appropriate,” Wheeling said. “Don’t be bullying, using inappropriate language or posting inappropriate photos, and make sure you know who is on the other end of your posts.”

According to Wheeling, students can cause a lot of trouble if they have nudity on any social media account.

“You don’t know where your photos are going and who is taking screen shots and you don’t know where they are going if you have a nude photo of yourself and you are underage,” Wheeling said. “That is child pornography and if anyone gets ahold of that and sends it to other people, that is distributing child pornography and that is a major crime.”

As far as posting photos with underage substance abuse, Wheeling said he has not seen someone legally get in trouble over a photo, but they can get in trouble with parents or coaches.

“I can’t issue an MIP for an admission to drinking, but if a parent or sports coach sees it you will be punished,” Wheeling said. “But I have never seen an MIP issued over a photo.”

Many people who have these private accounts, such as senior DJ Herrington, said they feel their photos are reasonably safe on these accounts because they choose who can and cannot follow them.

“My finsta is only for the real bros and I only let people that I trust follow me because my account is private,” Herrington said.

Herrington said he knows that once photos are posted online they are not safe, but he is not concerned because he chooses his own followers.

“Obviously photos on social networks are not safe no matter what, but it is only to a select group of people that I let follow me,” Herrington said.

According to Wheeling, social media accounts can be frozen and easily accessed with a search warrant.

“If we are investigating a crime we can contact any social media site and send requests to have accounts frozen or accessed with a very quick and small search warrant. It is easily possible for law enforcement to get ahold of those accounts and that includes deleted content,” Wheeling said.

Junior Sequoia Ford has a different approach in choosing who to let follow her finsta.

“I won’t let any guys follow me and I have that in my bio and it is only because I’m friends with guys and I know that they share pictures and they probably have a group message where they do that,” Ford said.

However, Ford is even more precise in deciding who she lets follow her than just by gender.

“I actually only let other finstas follow me so if they try to get me in trouble I can go right back and get them in trouble,” Ford said.

Ford said she enjoys the freedom of having a finsta/sinsta account.

“I post a lot of really bad selfies and I have the most random captions to go with them. It is very basic, but very fun,” Ford said.

There are some unspoken rules when it comes to Instagram. For instance, people are heavily criticized for posting more than once a day and according to Ford, finstas and sinstas are becoming more popular because these rules seem as though they do not apply to a finsta/sinsta.

“If someone has a finsta they can post whatever they want and nobody will care to a certain extent, but if you post more than once on your regular Instagram people will judge you so hard and you will probably be subtweeted. But if you do it on sinsta, nobody is going to say anything,” Ford said.