Since time immemorial—OK, scratch that, since everyone started carrying around smartphones—the screenshot has been the province of the busybody. Sharing one privately with friends is one of the chief ways to cast digital shade in our receipts-happy world, and now even Instagram is acknowledging that. The app is reportedly testing a feature that would notify people who post Stories when other users screenshot them. Take that, norms violators!
Stories, which Instagram introduced in 2016, are photos and videos, sometimes strung in a sequence, that disappear after 24 hours. Where people’s permanent Instagram grids tend to be curated within a pixel of their lives, Stories were supposed to be ephemeral and low-pressure, making social media fun and fancy-free again. They were heavily modeled on Snapchat’s feature of the same name, Snapchat being the app that was famously founded on the premise of the joy of disappearing content. And the Instagram version has been, by most accounts, a huge success. On Snapchat, screenshotting was prohibited from just about the beginning, with the threat that the person you screenshotted would be notified always hanging over your activity. Though Instagram has been more than happy to draw inspiration from Snapchat, it took until now for the former to add this deterrence policy.
Though Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and other famous Stories enthusiasts probably won’t much care if you screenshot their pictures and videos, this move formalizes the temporary lifespan of Stories, policing anyone who hopes to make a story last beyond its expiration date. Whether you’re screenshotting to snicker privately or as part of some nefarious piracy scheme, Instagram knows you’re up to no good and wants to stop you. Well, it’ll let you off with a warning the first time, according to the Next Web—as if a warning has ever stopped anyone from being shady.
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