After a tweet this morning by New York Times writer Jenna Wortham caused some buzz, we did some digging and it looks like Instagram is not notifying users when screenshots are taken of their photos. Wortham mentioned that her sister was noticing it on some of her photos and that it didn’t appear to be active across all accounts. Update below.
We did some investigation of our own, trying to duplicate it on TNW accounts and couldn’t get any notifications to pop. The only other mention that we could find was three days ago, when a Twitter user commented on similar behavior on his account. We felt that the notifications could actually be the related to the new tagging feature that Instagram introduced, called Photos of You. The notification for that feature reads: “x has taken a photo of you.”
We reached out to Instagram and a representative confirmed that this isn’t a current feature of Instagram, stating that “we aren’t working on this feature,” and drew attention to the new Photos of You feature as a possible cause.
This type of ‘screenshot warning’ behavior is similar to the way that hot social sharing app Snapchat works. If a user takes a screenshot, the original poster receives a notification. Sharing screenshots of posts is a well-worn Instagram tradition. The hashtag ‘screenshots’, while not completely populated with images of Instagram images, holds some 500,000 entries alone.
Instagram now tells the person when you screenshot their picture? ahhhh HELL NAH :(
— #1League (@CheefDaReefa) May 9, 2013
Responses to Wortham’s initial tweet have been pouring in at a rate of several a minute in the couple hours since the initial post. Most of them have been highly negative.
Update: It looks like it was indeed the Photos of You feature at work:
Ah. To clarify re: Instagram, some1 screenshotted my sister’s pic, then reposted it & tagged her. She misunderstood the notification (pt 1)
— Jenna Wortham ♥ (@jennydeluxe) May 9, 2013