Graphic created by Brent Buterbaugh

Why does everyone have a finsta?


What is a finsta

If you’ve been out with someone you follow on Instagram, you notice them post hella stories, then you check their page in the morning to recap, only to find cobwebs, they probably were on their finsta

A finsta [fake + Instagram] is a secondary instagram account where its user is active in ways they usually are not on their rinsta [real + Instagram]. Finstas are often set to private in order to share more authentic expressions with close friends. Finstas are an antithesis to the carefully curated nature of rinstas.

That isn’t an all-encompassing definition because people have different reasons for doing things. For some, the feelings of inadequacy spurred from seeing the strangers they followed on their rinsta for ‘motivation’ can get overwhelming. 

Maybe they started a new job, and they can’t turn off who they are because their co-workers follow them now. Family is another group of people that some don’t want to see EVERY part of their self-expression. 

These and many other reasons can urge one to seek a private space online, to be quite like how social media started out.

Another use of a finsta is to keep the niche, appealing brands in one place, because Instagram’s algorithm be moving mad. It’s easier to interact with your special interests without an acquaintance knowing you’re obsessed with Dr. Pimple Popper. Some people would rather keep up with friends’ lives only, keeping influencers & acquaintances at arms—or account—length.

There’s much power in privacy. Quoting the late Robin Williams from Good Will Hunting ‘We get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds’. So if you ever choose to open a finsta, be careful who you let in, and don’t make it easy to find.

P.s. Using your nickname, and/or linking to your regular email or phone number are rookie moves.  

Reasons To Not Make a Finsta

Some finstas blossom on the idea of exclusion, which can lead to a futile thought process of trying to make everyone else feel less special. If you find exclusion more appealing than the inclusion of extra special people, you may be leading yourself down a rabbit hole.

Also, don’t make a finsta to compete with other people’s finstas, that’s just dumb. You’re better off not knowing other people’s finstas, rather than asking yourself questions like: “Why doesn’t she follow me back? Why do they comment on his pictures and not mine?

Don’t use a finsta as a place to drag people because you think they won’t see it. Things you say about people always have a way of finding themselves to them. The internet is forever, screenshots are a thing, please be guided in your ways, online grudges can affect your real life.

My Opinion on Finstas

I think finstas are cool, not in a let’s-make-it-trendy way, but as an individual safe space online. Social media’s effect on mental health is a well discussed, and unresolved topic, why wait till an official resolution?. I think it’s important to take control of how it makes you feel, even if it means using it in unconventional ways. Even though I can’t really post ANYTHING on my finsta, it’s a great way to not live in my curated persona 24/7.

Other People’s Opinions on Finstas

P.s. To keep anonymity, I asked each interviewee to provide me with an alias.

  • Fantastic Man

Why did you open a finsta?

FM: So I can post shit without people judging and shit. Like I want to just post nudes, and talk about sex, and talk about how my day was, to people I feel won’t judge. Generally, it brings people closer to my personal life, because my other account is mostly professional. It’s inappropriate to post stuff like that in a nigerian context, so I just wanted to avoid that and have my finsta jeje. And I just like to bring people here, people I want to fuck, I like to bring them over to my finsta, I love that.

How differently do you use it from your regular instagram?

FM: Most of the stuff I post on my finsta, I don’t post on my main page, and I’m more vocal about how I feel, on my finsta.

  • Heyou.

Why did you open a finsta?

H: For further freedom of expression. Kind of like when people start visiting underground sex parties.

How do you use it differently from your regular instagram?

H: For me it’s shadow work, a way of acknowledging all the ‘bad’ sides of myself.

  • Fly ass pisces:

Why did you open a finsta?

I have one because I like the anonymity, I like that I don’t follow people I know. 

How do you use it differently from your regular instagram?

I speak to new people behind my anonymity, the freedom to post as I want, what I want.

  • Shoot me in the head.

Why do you not want to open a finsta?

SMITH: I can’t handle more than one account, and I find it stressful and ridiculous to have to hide who I truly am from the world. If you’re something, you’re something to everyone. No point in like having two sides of you. I want to be free and me, all the time.

How do you feel about your friends having finstas?

SMITH: I think… I don’t know. Some people can’t handle being that open to everyone and I respect that. Plus, most people use it to show their sexual side, and I’m always intrigued to see the nasty shit they post.


On a final note, because Nigerian society is conservative, I think finstas can be a place for expression in ways a rinsta just can’t. Even though it’s quite ironic how many of us end up being real on our fake accounts and fake on our real accounts. Maybe it’s a sign to turn our mobile data off for a minute, and talk to our friends, or a see a therapist.

Sike! Posting edgy memes on my finsta is the unhealthy coping mechanism I will continue to indulge in. 

Nasir Ahmed Achile

Philosophy nut. I recommend Albert Camus and Eckhart Tolle to everyone I know.

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