The Brief: A Finsta is a "fake" private Instagram account and a Rinsta is a "real" public account.

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Rinsta vs. Finsta

A Finsta is a private Instagram account usually used to post unpolished pictures, screenshots, and memes, with long, semi-confessional captions. The idea of a Finsta is that it is a way to share personal updates with a smaller set of friends. The opposite of a Finsta is a Rinsta, a “real” or “regular” Insta for larger audiences and more curated posts.

Finsta: 

  • Private account
  • Few followers (10-200)
  • Frequent posts (up to several times a day)
  • Silly username/pseudonym
  • Used to share/vent to close friends
  • Messy aesthetic

Rinsta: 

  • Public or private account
  • As many followers as possible
  • Posts less than once a day
  • Username is real name or a variation of it
  • Used for popularity/wide audience
  • Polished aesthetic

Since Finstas are private, we can’t show you what exactly they look like. @blacksheepmemes is a popular Instagrammer whose style is Finsta-like, even though she has a public account and thousands of followers.

What parents should know:

Finsta posts are typically not fit for a larger Instagram audience and include:

  • Selfies (not necessarily cute ones) with captions including mental health updates, gossip, and random thoughts.
  • Screenshots of texts with captions about relationships (sexual, romantic, friendly, or family).
  • Memes with captions about how they are personally relatable.
  • Evidence of illicit behavior via pictures and/or captions depicting alcohol, drug use, or other rule-breaking.

The duality of Finstas and Rinstas bring up the issue of authenticity online. While it is impossible to be fully authentic online (everything is a performance), Finstas and Rinstas are ways young users try to navigate their online personas, in relation to what’s going on IRL.

It’s easy for users to toggle between multiple Instagram accounts. By clicking on the username on the top of the page, users can switch from their Rinsta to their Finsta, and any other accounts they may have.

“The best way to find out if your kid has a secondary account is to ask them” says Suzanne Kantra, founder of the site Techlicious.

Although Finstas are almost always set to “private,” nothing online is fully private – social media platforms save data, hackers can invade private accounts, and followers can share screenshots from private accounts to larger audiences. Steps can be taken to enhance the privacy of one’s account.

Users may use their Finstas as a place to vent and share mental health updates, but it is not a reliable mental health resource. Instagram has some features for which to report and reach out to users who seem to be struggling with their mental health.

As curating an Insta and a Finsta requires more time and energy, it is important to consider the risks of excessive social media use.

Like all social media networks, bullying, trolling, and the posting of sensitive or inappropriate content can occur. Instagram’s community guidelines have procedures for reporting and preventing hate speech and NSFW content.

Overall, a Finsta is a more private and intimate platform for young people to share about their lives than a hyper-curated Rinsta. Finstas are similar to public diaries. There are significant risks to posting private information publicly, and caution should be used. Finstas are often reasonably healthy outlets for self-expression and communication between friends, but parents should talk to their children about safety and privacy online.

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