Finstas, or “fake Instagrams,” is a trend among young people who create a secondary Instagram account for the purpose of expressing themselves more freely. The content posted on these accounts often differs greatly from what is posted to a finsta user’s main account, a real Insta, and is often less polished. While this trend is increasingly popular with students, those who are unfamiliar may wonder about the purpose of having two diametrically opposite Instagram accounts, and why one account does not suffice.
Despite the variations and differing styles of the accounts, finsta users tend to agree that secret accounts are beneficial for dealing with social media pressure, and they value having a private space online. Finstas typically create a setting where users allow their personality to take centre stage without worrying about what others might think. Delina Efrem, U0 Science, shares her experience with finstas, detailing the unspoken pressure that surrounds a lot of social media.
“There are too many lurking eyes on your main account,” Efrem said. “It just feels uncomfortable. When I’m posting on my main [account], it has to be in tip top shape because I want people to like it. When I post on my finsta, it’s because I like it, and I want people to enjoy it.”
The desire to appear perfect on social media affects many people who share their lives online, especially young people. This pressure to present a perfect version of oneself is reinforced by the growing industry of Instagram influencers who make a living off of promoting brands on their personal accounts. Apprehension about posting on main accounts is a fear many Instagram users relate to. Zoe Karkossa, U3 Science, explained the difference between primary Instagram accounts and finstas intended for friends.
“In the context of a finsta […], you have the privacy to express yourself in a way that isn’t public, in a way that you won’t be judged for,” Karkossa said.
A traditional Instagram account comes with an unspoken set of standards that a majority of users follow. It creates a platform where people are held accountable for their actions by the public. By alleviating the stress of a public platform, finstas offer their users more freedom to broadcast their authentic selves. However, this freedom can also encourage a space that enables unhealthy behavior under the guise of being candid and relatable.
“[Finstas can] allow for enabling, since you can take your night out and spin it as something funny or no big deal, [and] a good time,” Karkossa said. “A lot of people will do that in their finsta, talk about how much they go out. It’s nice to have a safe space to talk about that but a lot of [it is] also enabling [….] It’s easy to hide if you have actual problems.”
To the people that use them, finstas represent an overall positive progression of social media.
“There’s more of a sense of authenticity, [which allows] for more actual social connection,” Karkossa said. “Not necessarily deep conversations, but relating [to people] on a deeper level than sending hearts in Instagram comments].”
The rise of finstas is a subculture creation wherein individuals no longer feel the pressure to uphold a perfect image online. It represents a new wave of social media culture led by young people, which allows them to feel more free and connect with one another in a more meaningful way.