Finstas: the fake side of Instagram

Noela Bae, Content Editor

Ever since Instagram users were given the option to log into multiple accounts at a time, Finstas have quickly been on the rise. If you’re not familiar with the term “Finsta,” allow me to explain. “Fintas,” an abbreviation for “Fake Instagrams,” are private Instagram accounts that only the user’s closest friends follow. These accounts consist of memes, rants, embarrassing photos, roasts—you name it. A Finsta can be viewed as a kind of safe zone: what society deems unacceptable or preposterous can be posted with minimal judgment.

Though I am amused when scrolling through the Finsta posts on my feed, I can’t help but also feel irked by what these accounts have become. First off, I feel outright ostracized: users only accept the follower requests of those that they’re chummy with, and the low follower count of each Finsta affirms this. As determining factors of who one’s “close friends” are, Finstas create an exclusive barrier between friends.

Finstas also create an exhibitionist emotional burden for followers. The Finsta accounts I follow have become ranting outlets, and whether these rants are grave concerns or trifling matters, the users behind them are clearly seeking validation from their small following. Too often I have felt conflicted to feed users the emotional support and sympathy that they seek. It’s not that I want to be that insensitive, aloof friend, but I’ll be honest: it’s emotionally exhausting to stress over how I’ll respond to the post and religiously play the sympathizer role. The high-strung temperaments of Finsta users make me uneasy, and as much as the rants alleviate users from their own emotional burden, that burden is now transferred onto me and other followers.

Roasts are another common type of post on Finstas. Frankly, I find these to be more mocking and offensive than comical. But if I call out users for posting such content, I, as their servile follower, am not doing my job of feeding them validating comments. This constant question of whether I’m supposed to call them out or play along with their sardonic sense of humor is quite frustrating.

Let’s not forget how frequently Finsta posts fill up my feed. It’s as if selectivity doesn’t exist: every life update must be shared on the daily—or on the weekly, at the least. It is safe to say that my feed is filled with more Finsta posts than it is with those from “standard,” “normal” accounts. I don’t think I can go through 10 photos without coming across a Finsta post. Give me a break.  

Also, try thinking about Finstas in the grand scheme of things. To think that our generation resorts to Finstas to express our genuine feelings is utterly disappointing. It didn’t occur to me that preserving public persona had become so valuable that turning to a secondary platform would be necessary to reveal one’s authentic character. Has Generation Z really come to the point where the fear of backlash prevents them from owning up to their beliefs publicly? Quite a shame if you ask me.

But don’t get me wrong. Amid all my complaints, I do understand the rationale behind Finsta accounts. In a time when carefully curating a flawless Instagram has become the norm, Finstas have become a direct response to this pressure of perfection. But let’s be real: the rants, pleas for help, memes, jokes, brags and roasts are kind of overdoing it. You can’t always resort to Finstas as your safe zone.

Having said all this, I wouldn’t be too surprised if I find myself banished from all the Finstas that I currently follow after my friends read this. But hey, it was about time a non-Finsta user shared her side of the story.