Many Instagram users may not realize they are making their exact whereabouts public whenever they post pictures with the photo-sharing app .Some people who do not realize this are famous. After seeing Fusion’s bombshell that Michelle Obama, Reese Witherspoon and other celebs are leaking location information on Instagram, which itself was inspired by an AP expose on Illinois Rep. Aaron Shock's lavish spending habits, I took a crack at seeing which famous San Franciscans are also inadvertently leaking their whereabouts via Instagram Photo Map data. Turns out many of SF’s highest-profile Instagrammers leak their exact locations whenever they post, including Alice Waters, who's become an avid user of the app.

Instagram may have created the most user-friendly stalking tool ever with a feature they call Photo Maps. This feature purports to “showcase where you’ve taken your photos” which can be shorthand for “where you live, where your partner lives or where your parents live.” Instagram insists this setting is kept off by default, though some users whom I'd successfully stalked with this tool say they were unaware such a setting had ever been turned on. Others might fully realize this, and maybe they like it or else they don't care. But once Photo Maps is on you must intentionally turn it off to stop leaking your location. If you’re on Instagram, do yourself a favor and check your settings to make sure the command Add to Photo Map is disabled, as seen below.


I’ve posted one picture to Instagram ever back in 2012 and I just downloaded the app yesterday. So I am not exactly an Instagram power user. But I was still able to determine some pretty personal information about some famous people, with no hacking or programming skills whatsoever. These famous people and that personal information are detailed below.

Alice Waters
It is no surprise that celebrated restaurateur Alice Waters has tagged 12 photos at the Chez Panisse location, as seen above. But there is a certain other location on her Instagram Photo Map with a cluster of more than a dozen pictures, whose captions include the phrases “at my house”, “from my garden” and “left on my doorstep”. Maybe it’s a thing in Berkeley that everybody knows where Alice lives and they bring her offerings of organic food. If so, that’s adorable. But on a personal level, I would advise against Photo Mapping Instagram photos from your own house and describing it in the captions as “my house.” Because any dipshit who’s been on Instagram for one day can then figure out where you live.

Hunter Pence Photo Map via Instagram
Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence does not fear disclosing location data. San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is not so indiscreet on Instagram that you can figure out where he lives. But you can figure out where he vacations, and you could theoretically track him in real time. Via his Photo Map, we can see that prior to Spring Training Pence took jaunts to very specific and findable golf courses at Fairview Park and Newport Beach in LA. An overzealous fan could have located him upon his posting of these tagged Instagram photos. Sure, that fan would gotten their torso rearranged, but still.

Broke-Ass Stuart
I confronted local bon vivant and blogger Broke-Ass Stuart with the fact that he had been out at Monarch this Wednesday, Bottom of the Hill last Saturday and basically his exact location every time he’d been Instagramming while partying in the last several months. Some of this location data could be quite compromising.

“If somebody wants to find and kill me, I’m a very easy person to find and kill anyway,” Stuart told SFist. “Three nights a week, I’m already telling everyone in the world where the fuck I am. ‘Hey, I’m bartending here, come find me.’ But the fact that they can find where I live and kill me in my sleep is more sketchy.”

Gavin Newsom Photo Map via Instagram
Gavin Newsom
I’ve included Gavin Newsom as an example of how to do Instagram Photo Map tagging right. As seen above, the Lieutenant Governor (or whichever sharp staffer handles his social media) only geotags his Instagram photos in certain rare and commendable situations like chilling with Willie Mays or doing a school assembly for Marin County fourth-graders. This way, you cannot determine his location when he is at home or off banging his appointments secretary.

I should note that Photo Map data shows where the photo was uploaded, not necessarily where it was taken. Still, it is chilling that people who post Photo Map data on Instagram often do so from their homes, making their home addresses astonishingly easy to determine.

I would highly recommend double-checking your Instagram photo post settings to ensure that the Add to Photo Map setting is off. Tagging your location is something you might want to do only occasionally on social media. Location tagging from your home is perhaps not the best idea, particularly if you’ve ever had stalker issues. Violet Blue’s outstanding Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy is an excellent reference for avoiding common social media privacy mistakes that can compromise your personal information.

In fact, this is something I might need to brush up on before Alice Walker and Hunter Pence’s respective mafias show up at my home to rearrange my torso.

Related: $35 Billion Instagram Valuation Overtakes Twitter, Approaches Uber

Alice Waters' Photo Map via Instagram