We’ve all been there. Whether you’re keeping tabs on that ex-boyfriend (come on, admit it), or trying to capture a funny meme to share or that trendy ‘kombrewcha’ recipe to keep and attempt later (yeah, good luck) – at some point it’s likely that you’ve taken a screenshot of someone else’s Instagram story.
And that’s totally legit. After all, the defining feature of Instagram stories is that they live for just 24 hours, which is great for sharing snapshots of your life without overthinking, but what happens when you want to save a moment in time for later?
The short life-span of the Stories feature is intentional. It keeps things fresh and exciting. It allows us to share important (or not so) titbits of our lives and ‘behind the scenes’ access into our fascinating (or not so) lives! It keeps things light and interactive with features like story games that help us connect to each other. But let’s get to the burning question. What happens after a photo has been screen grabbed?
Will someone know if I’ve screen grabbed their story?
The concept of short-term disappearing posts was first introduced by Snapchat, way back when. It was the extra value the new social media platform gave, that its competitors didn’t: allowing users to send private messages or post information without any threat of it sticking around to be discovered by unwanted eyes.
Because of this, screengrabs on Snapchat were not allowed, and users that ‘broke the law’ were found to be violating policies.
Never wanting to be too late to the party, Instagram introduced a similar alert feature in February 2018.
This meant that when a user took a screenshot of an Instagram story, a ‘starburst’ symbol would appear next to their username in story stats. Hence it revealed who had been snooping on you.
Here’s the interesting bit that Instagram HQ didn’t anticipate: Instagram users didn’t actually mind other people taking screenshots of their content.
In fact, one of the foundations for social media is the whole concept of sharing (and often oversharing TMI), and this felt like the wrong sort of ‘invasion’ to many. So, the social community did what it does best, and came together to #protest the changes.
After all, Instagram stories ticked all the right boxes. They allow users to upload fresh content constantly, perhaps the sort you wouldn’t post forever, without cluttering up your feed. Stories are a dynamic feature that 500 million users get involved with every day. Why change a good thing?
You can probably guess what happened next. Five months later, Instagram revoked the alert feature and removed the notification.
So, am I free to keep snapping away?
Give in to the temptation, you’re officially in the clear! As of April, 2020 you can rest assured that if you screenshot someone’s Instagram story, it won’t be recorded or shared with anyone. Enjoy the story feature as it was fully intended, and snap away without any fear of getting caught in the act!