Instagram is currently testing a feature which is going to show the users when another person takes a screenshot of their story. The site already has a feature which identifies users taking a screenshot of a photo or a video which is sent in ‘direct messages’. Users included in the test forum will get a warning that the next time they take a screenshot of a friend’s story, that particular person will know the same.
They will be able to do this by going to the list of viewers of their stories and seeing a new camera shutter logo next to the ones who took a screenshot of their story. Apparently, it will not show up as a notification but will appear within the list of viewers albeit with a conspicuous designation next to their icons.
Screenshot Alert, Part of a Continuous Process
For those who are not too enthusiastic about the use of the feature due to matters freedom and voyeurism, the objective was to allow users to get to know their following and vice versa. Instagram like Snapchat had made their Stories feature so they would disappear from the user’s feed after 24 hours, though there is nothing to stop the users saving screenshots on to their devices. Similarly, Snapchat also had a screenshot notifications tool for a period showing the users when someone made copies of their pictures.
There was, in fact, an update to iOS 11 that allowed for screen recording and made it possible for some of the users to avoid the screenshot notification before Snapchat had issued an update. Instagram did issue a statement acknowledging the test claiming they are in a continuous process of testing means to improve on the user experience on their platform and making it easier to share any moments with the people that matter.
More Harm Than Good
In all probability, the site is using the test to ascertain if the feature has a noticeable effect on engagement before deciding if it is good enough to roll out a mass scale. As such, there is a chance a number of the users may finally watch fewer stories over the course of time if they are not able to take screenshots without the notification of the creator in this process. Before the test, only screenshot notifications on Instagram included people taking screenshots of private direct messages.
Previously users would also re-watch the Stories of others as many times as they wanted within 24 hours with the creator unaware of how many times the individual had watched it. So the feature may be just experimental if it is found to be too costly. Interestingly though, cheat codes exist for one to avoid being detected as some Twitter users have found that one can set the phone to airplane mode and then screenshot or one can view the Instagram story via desktop and then screenshot the story from there.
Technically, this is just showing people how to be creepy but social media and stalking have always had an unsaid devious relationship, so the feature may be ultimately more detrimental than connective.