Instagram is testing a feature that will tell on you for screenshotting Stories
The idea of Instagram Stories is simple if a touch baffling to people of a certain age (i.e: me). Instead of keeping your photography for posterity, stories are shared publicly for just 24 hours, after which time they are gone forever. Kind of like taking your Snappy Snaps prints to a shredder when you tire of them.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping people from screen grabbing them for posterity, should they wish. But while you can probably convince yourself this is some kind of noble act, like Max Brod believing that Franz Kafka’s work should be shared with the world, it’s usually on the creepier end of the spectrum. By screenshotting the Story, you are going against the photographer’s wishes – however little they actually care in practice.
While you can prevent screenshots in apps – banking apps tend to do it for obvious reasons – Instagram is testing a more gentle nudge-based way of getting people not to be creeps. It hasn’t been rolled out to all users, but people on Twitter have started to be warned that if they screenshot, the original author will be told they’ve done it. Aware of how mortifying that would be to creepy Casanovas everywhere, Instagram is giving a warning the first time you try it.
But suppose you have no ability to feel shame and continue to take screenshots anyway. How is the photographer alerted to your behaviour? Well, at the moment in quite a minor way, by the looks of it. While the warning implies (without actually saying) some kind of formal notification, it looks like you have to dig deep to find it, by going through the list of story viewers. In other words, power users need only apply:
This isn’t entirely new. Instagram, like Snapchat, already warns users when somebody screengrabs a direct message – presumably because DMs have the chance of being of a more, uh, intimate nature.
Still, companies like Instagram leave nothing to chance, and this testing phase will likely be examining what the changes do stories’ engagement. But assuming numbers don’t tank, photographers everywhere will soon be able to see if you’re keeping copies of the content they’re trying to shred.