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Instagram showing "CSRF token missing or incorrect" error? Here's how you can try to fix it

It's just a question of Instagram's security tech temporarily going haywire.

Published onNovember 17, 2023

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably sick and tired of cryptic error messages that only mean something to the app developers who came up with them. Instagram‘s “CSRF token missing or incorrect” (or variants of that) is a choice example. So what does that actually  mean to the rest of us, and is there anything you can do to get back in action?

How to fix Instagram showing “CSRF token missing or incorrect”

Instagram stock image 6
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

CSRF stands for “Cross-Site Request Forgery.” As confusing as that term might be, in this case it’s specifically referring to a verification token generated by Instagram and sent to your app or browser when you try to log in. If Instagram’s servers can’t find your CSRF token, or there’s a data mismatch, it’s going to reject your access in order to prevent CSRF attacks.

The good news is that there are a few things you can try that should solve the problem.

  • Clear your app or web browser’s cookies and cache. If you’re using the Android app, follow these instructions. If you’re on the web, instructions will vary from browser to browser, but here’s what to do in Google Chrome. You can’t directly purge the iPhone app’s cache — instead, the most you can do is force-quit and relaunch, or restart your iPhone.
  • Disable any VPN or proxy connections you’re using. While they shouldn’t usually create problems, VPNs and proxy servers could potentially be confusing Instagram’s servers with different settings and IP addresses. If clearing cookie and cache data didn’t work, you might have some luck with this.
  • Sign out of Instagram, then back in. This should force Instagram to generate a new CSRF token. If you want bulletproof odds, you might even consider signing out on every device you use Instagram on.
  • Disable any security-related browser extensions you have active. You should, of course, be wary about letting down your guard, but on the web version of Instagram, extensions such as ad blockers could be unintentionally blocking token requests. Consider whitelisting Instagram and/or disabling your security extension(s) briefly to see if it helps. If you find you need to disable an extension, you may need to switch to an alternative to keep using Instagram safely.
  • Turn to Instagram support. If nothing else has helped so far, there’s likely something more serious going on. You can browse the official Help Center articles, but more likely you’ll have to report technical problems via Instagram’s web or app interfaces.

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