Tag Archives: Instagram

Instagram Might Let IGTV Video Makers Earn Money



TechCrunch reported that Instagram confirmed that it has internally prototyped an Instagram Partner Program that would let creators earn money by showing advertisements along with their videos. The goals seems to be to entice creators to put their videos on IGTV in the hopes of being able to earn money. It sounds like Instagram is hoping the potential for earning money might influence creators to bring more and higher quality content to Instagram.

The program could potentially work similarly to Facebook Watch, where video producers earn a 55% cut of revenue from “Ad Breaks” inserted into the middle of their content. There’s no word on what the revenue split would be for IGTV, but since Facebook tends to run all its ads across all its apps via the same buying interfaces, it might stick with the 55% approach that lets it say creators get the majority of cash earned.

I think the addition of ads, inserted into the middle of video content, could kill this project. The Coalition for Better Ads recently announced a Better Ads Standard for short-form video for desktop, mobile web, and in-app environments. The goal is to improve the online ad experience for consumers. This standard will apply to ads that appear in short-form video content that is defined as 8 minutes or less.

Three ad experiences fall beneath the Better Ads Standard for short-form video:

  •  mid-roll ads
  • pre-roll ads or pods longer than 31 seconds that cannot be skipped in the first 5 seconds
  • non-linear display ads that are in the middle 1/3 of a playing video or are larger than 20% of the video content

The Coalition’s Better Ads Standards identify the ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability and are most likely to drive consumers to install ad blockers. From this, is sounds to me like sticking an ad in the middle of a short video on IGTV will not be acceptable to most people. This could make them avoid watching videos on IGTV.

It should be noted that TechCrunch referred to this new IGTV program as something that Instagram internally prototyped. It doesn’t mean Instagram is absolutely going to release an Instagram Partner Program anytime soon.


Instagram to Expand Checking Without Removing Misinformation



Instagram is trying to step up its efforts to combat misinformation on the platform. Its newest plan is what I consider to be a good start, but still needs improvement. The plan builds upon an existing third-party fact-checker program that began in May of 2019. Instagram is now expanding their fact-checking program globally to allow fact-checking organizations around the world to assess and rate misinformation on Instagram.

When content has been rated as false or partly false by a third-party fact-checker, we reduce its distribution by removing it from Explore and hashtag pages. In addition, it will be labeled so people can better decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. When these labels are applied, they will appear to everyone around the world viewing that content – in feed, profile, stories, and direct messages.

Instagram is also applying image matching technology to find additional instances of the same content so the label can be applied to it. One interesting thing about this new change is that content that has been rated false or partly false on Facebook, and that also appears on Instagram, will automatically be labeled.

This is a good start towards reducing the spread – and negative repercussions – of misinformation. But, I think Instagram (and Facebook) should go further.

It would be more effective if Instagram/Facebook removed the misinformation entirely. Allowing it to spread, to people who are inclined to think the warning labels are wrong, is a terrible idea. Doing so could persuade people to hold on even tighter to misinformation that happens to match their political or personal viewpoints.


Instagram will Require Birthdates from New Users



Instagram announced an update that will require new users to provide their date of birth in order to make an Instagram account. The purpose of this update is to make Instagram safer for the youngest members of the community.

Starting today, we will be asking for your date of birth when creating an account on Instagram. According to the Terms of Use, you must be at least 13 years old to have an account in most countries. Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall. Your birthday will not be visible to others on Instagram, but you’ll be able to see it when viewing your own private account information.

If your Facebook and Instagram are connected, Instagram will add the date of birth that is on your Facebook profile. Editing your date of birth on Facebook will also change it on Instagram. Those who don’t have Facebook accounts, or who don’t connect it to Instagram can edit their birthday directly on Instagram.

In the months ahead, Instagram will use birthday information to create tailored experiences including education about account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people. They are also going to give users more control over who can send them direct messages in Instagram.

I am in favor of making efforts to protect young people on social media. Those protections should have been there from the beginning.

My only complaint about this update is it will require new Instagram users to hand over their birthdate to both Instagram and Facebook. Think about all the important documents your birthdate is attached to. Do you trust Facebook to keep that information secure?


Instagram will Test Hiding “Likes” in the US



One of the easiest ways to respond to an Instagram post is to click “like”. It is faster and easier than commenting, and it serves as a positive response to your friend’s latest photo. Wired reported that Instagram will be hiding “like” counts in the United States.

Months after the company tested hiding “like” counts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy, and Brazil, CEO Adam Mosseri announced today at WIRED25 that some US Instagram users can expect their like counts to vanish from public view. The company will begin testing next week, at first rolling out the change to a limited number of accounts.

To be clear, this does not mean that Instagram is removing the ability for users to click “like”. You will continue to be able to click “like” on whatever you want to. You will also still be able to see who clicked “like” on the photos that you post on Instagram.

The part that is changing is significant. Users who are part of this test will no longer see the “like” count on the photos posted by other users. I wonder how this will affect Instagram influencers who make their money by attracting brands to sponsor them. Will brands continue to seek out Instagram influencers if the brand cannot see how many “likes” their sponsored post received?

Overall, I think removing the number of “likes” from public view can be a good thing. There are those who will delete posts that they felt did not receive enough of likes. That might change if the person realizes that no one else can see their “like” count. Making that information private could be a relief to many Instagram users.


Instagram is Removing the Following Activity Tab



Instagram is removing the Following tab in the Activity Feed. It was launched in 2011. Since then, the Explore tab was created, and it became the best way to discover new content. That said, some people are going to be sad when the Following Tab disappears. Apparently, people were using it as a way to snoop on the accounts they follow. The tab shows everything a person clicked “like” on.

BuzzFeed News reported that Vishal Shah, Instagram’s head of product, said that Following wasn’t a feature that people used frequently and that the company suspected many users didn’t know it existed. And for those that did, it was often a source of unwelcome surprises.

“People didn’t always know their activity is surfacing,” Shah said. “So you have a case where it’s not serving the use case you built it for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up.”

It never occurred to me to find out what other people “like” on Instagram. If you are following me, and check the Following tab, you will find so many “liked” photos of cats and kittens, books, and art. Maybe I’m boring.

Based on several articles that I’ve skimmed through today, it seems that many people use “like” to click on photos that might be considered “NSFW” (or that were close to it). Personally, I don’t care what people “like” on Instagram. That said, plenty of other people do care! The Following tab was being used by people who enjoyed finding out what the people they follow clicked “like” on. It seems the feature became a form of entertainment for some.

I think the revelations about just how much the Following tab showed may have influenced some people to go through their Instagram “likes” and remove some of the more questionable ones. Following revealed more about a person than they may have intended, and some people are going to be embarrassed by what they have let their followers know about them.


Instagram Introduces Threads



Instagram announced that Facebook is launching Threads from Instagram. I supposes this wording is intended to make it very clear that Instagram is owned by Facebook. Threads is a new “camera-first” messaging app that helps you stay connected to your close friends.

Threads is designed for Instagram users who want to be able to communicate with their closest circle of friends. The idea is for people to use Threads to post photos and videos of how they are feeling or what they are doing to a small group in a dedicated private space.

Threads is a standalone app designed with privacy, speed, and your close connections in mind. You can share photos, videos, messages, Stories, and more with your Instagram close friends list. You are in control of who can reach you on Threads, and you can customize the experience around the people who matter most.

It appears that Threads is intended to replace the Close Friends feature that was released on Instagram last year. Instead of messaging your Close Friends on Instagram, you can instead use Threads to message the people on your Instagram Close Friends list.

You can also continue to message Close Friends on Instagram. However, I think there will be a time when the company will drop that in favor of having people use Threads.

Status is another new feature. It is intended to be used to send a quick thing to your close friends. You can choose from a suggested status, which include an emoji and a two or three word description. Or, you can create your own status. Instagram says that only close friends will see it, and the feature is completely opt-in.

Instagram (and Facebook) appear to be trying to assure Instagram users that Threads is very private. Keep in mind that anything you put on either Instagram, Facebook, or Threads, can be seen by Facebook and might be among the data that the company collects.


Trump Administration Launches Tool to Report Censorship



The Trump Administration has launched a web survey for people to use if they feel they have been wrongly censored on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube. The survey was created with the online form-building tool Typeform. The first page of the survey says:

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies. No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.

The Guardian reported that the survey asks users to provide their names, contact information, social media accounts, and screenshots of interactions with social media platforms. Only US citizens and permanent residents are asked to participate. The Guardian wonders what the Trump administration will do – and what it won’t do – with the names and contact information of the people who fill out the survey.

Typeform tweeted: “We didn’t get any further than this @WhiteHouse”. The tweet included a screenshot of the question “Are you a U.S. citizen or permanent resident?” Typeform checked “no”. The Guardian reported that Typeform is based in Barcelona.

As always, it is a good idea to read a survey’s user agreement before you post any of your information into it. Ars Technica reported that the user agreement gives the Trump Administration a broad license to use the information that users post into the survey, including publishing it.

More specifically, the user agreement “grants the U.S. Government a license to use, edit, display, publish, broadcast, transmit, post, or otherwise distribute all or part of the Content (including edited, composite, or derivative works made therefrom)”.

“You waive any right to inspect or approve of any Content edited, composite or derivative works made from Content (including those which may contain your information) before use. You are not entitled to any prior notice before the U.S. Government uses Content or Information. You are not entitled to any compensation for Content.”

“You understand that Content may not be altered or deleted by you after submission, You further understand that your submission may be subject to the Federal Records Act and/or the Presidential Records Act and may be subject to public release according to those statutes.”

The Verge reported that near the end of the survey, it invites users to opt into email newsletters from President Trump “so we can update you without relying on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.”

Another part of the survey points users toward the user agreement, and states: “you understand this form is for information gathering only.” I think there are going to be a lot of disappointed people who presume that filling out the survey will instantly make their suspended or banned accounts accessible once again. In addition, some people may not realize they opted-in to a newsletter.