My Instagram posts keep showing up on Facebook!

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More than a decade ago, Qu’ana Underwood, then a middle school student in Philadelphia, joined Facebook. But as other social media platforms appeared, Facebook “became an afterthought,” she said.

Then last March, after Underwood posted photos of herself at a university formal on Instagram, she was suddenly flooded with Facebook notifications from relatives and friends she doesn’t normally keep in touch with. Her Instagram post had also appeared on her Facebook profile, prompting her Facebook friends to like and comment on it.

Underwood said she was mystified by what was happening, especially when every post or story she shared on Instagram ended up on Facebook — even though she couldn’t remember the last time she had posted there.

“What is going on?” Underwood, a 22-year-old behavioral health specialist in Nashville, Tennessee, said she had asked herself.

Like Underwood, other teenagers and young adults have discovered in recent months that they’ve been unusually active on Facebook — even though they hadn’t opened the app. Some were shocked, they said, because they hadn’t used Facebook for years and were hearing from Facebook friends they had forgotten about, with no idea how to stop their Instagram posts from winding up on the older social network.

The surge in Facebook activity is rooted in a new feature from Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram. Last year, Meta introduced a prompt that popped up on Instagram when people posted a photo or story. The prompt asked Instagram users if they wanted to share their post to Facebook, too.

To make the prompt go away, users had to click a big blue button to agree to share their Instagram posts on Facebook, or a smaller hyperlink to opt out. Many people, including Underwood, clicked the more visible blue button — and then immediately forgot about it, according to interviews with more than a dozen Gen Z and millennial Instagram users. Reversing the setting requires clicking through multiple Instagram menus.

“It feels so sneaky,” said Ashley LaBossiere, 28, a digital media manager in Canton, Georgia, who has had trouble turning off the setting. “Is Facebook suffering so badly?”

Meta has long been concerned about losing teenagers and young adults to rivals like TikTok and Snapchat, especially since that audience is highly coveted by advertisers. Facebook, which Mark Zuckerberg created in 2004 while at Harvard University, was aimed at college students in its early years but has struggled in recent years with an aging user base.

Last year, 17% of Facebook users were 18 to 24 years old, compared with 44% who were older than 45, according to, an analytics company. In contrast, 28% of Instagram users were 18 to 24 and 33% were older than 45, while 39% of Snapchat users and 30% of TikTok users were 18 to 24.

To appeal to younger users, Instagram and Facebook have in recent years introduced features like Stories, which emulates a Snapchat feature by letting people post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. They also rolled out Reels, a TikTok-like feature that lets people create short videos.

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