Jennifer Aniston publicly joined Instagram this week, but the “Friends” star revealed that she’s been lurking on the platform for a while now thanks to a secret account she created.
Aniston appeared Wednesday night on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show, where she admitted that she has long had a “stalker account” on Instagram.
“When I was thinking about doing [Instagram], I figured it was time to understand the world and dip my toe into the social media pool,” Aniston told Kimmel.
But Aniston isn’t the first celebrity who has admitted to using a secret social media account, not for posting content, but solely for keeping an eye on what’s happening there.
Jennifer Lawrence revealed in an interview last year that while she doesn’t have publicly facing social media accounts, she is online as a “voyeur”: “I watch, I don’t speak,” Lawrence told InStyle.
It’s not clear how many celebrities beyond Lawrence and Aniston use social media this way. It’s sort of like a “finsta”: a portmanteau for “fake Instagram,” a secondary sometimes-private account where people post photos they don’t want to put on their main accounts. There’s a whole sect of celebrities who have finsta accounts — including Sophie Turner, Ariana Grande , and Justin Bieber — but they’re known to the public.
But the secret accounts belonging to Lawrence and Aniston are completely unknown, and are not used for posting photos unworthy of their main accounts. I personally have a second Instagram account I use, strictly for following influencers and creators, that doesn’t post or even have a profile photo.
In the same interview where she talked about having a “voyeur” social media presence, Lawrence also voiced her distaste for the internet, saying that it breeds “backlash” and has “scorned” her in the past. Despite her objections, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Lawrence publicly joining social media in the future. Long before joining Instagram, Aniston frequently made comments about staying off of social media. She told Vogue in 2017 that she hadn’t made any social media accounts in order to maintain her “sanity.”
“Now you have social media and you’ve added this extra pressure of seeing if someone likes or doesn’t like something you did,” Aniston told Vogue. “We’re creating these man-made challenges and it’s a such a drag.”
With all that build-up, it’s no surprise Aniston’s Instagram debut on Tuesday was monumental. Her first post was a selfie of herself alongside her “Friends” co-stars. Almost immediately, news of Aniston’s Instagram debut led to an influx of followers, likes, and comments — which spurred technical problems and made it difficult for some users to follow Aniston’s account.
Additionally, Aniston’s popularity even broke a world record: Guinness World Records said Wednesday that Aniston had broken the record for the fastest time for an Instagram account to reach 1 million followers, reaching the milestone in just five hours and 16 minutes.