Instagram letting users download data, unveiling other features

Does your organization have great photos on Instagram that could be used
for other PR efforts?

Until now, Instagram hasn’t offered tools to download photos from its
database, forcing users to share a given Instagram post or find other
visuals for their campaigns. The company says it is developing a data
download tool, but it has been opaque about what data will be portable.


Instagram has historically made it very difficult to export your data. You
can’t drag, or tap and hold on images to save them. And you can’t download
images you’ve already posted. That’s despite Instagram now being almost 8
years old and having over 800 million users. For comparison,
Facebook launched its Download Your Information
in 2010, just six years after launch.

We’re awaiting more info on whether you’ll only be able to download your
photos, videos, and messages; or if you’ll also be able to export your
following and follower lists, Likes, comments, Stories, and the captions
you share with posts. It’s also unclear whether photos and videos will
export in the full fidelity that they’re uploaded or displayed in, or
whether they’ll be compressed.

Many might be excited by the option to use their old photos, but some
question just where—outside of Instagram—organizations or individuals are
supposed to post their photos.


Ideally, portability lets users control their own data and move freely to
competitors’ sites. But that poses the question: Who is Instagram’s
competition? Flickr? Google photos? And who is Facebook’s competition?
Portability is useful if you want to quit Instagram, but if you want
another place to share photos among a vibrant, robust audience, there
aren’t many choices.

Instagram has come under increased scrutiny for its ties to parent company


Facebook has boosted Instagram where convenient—in conversations with
advertisers, for example—but otherwise hasn’t done a lot of co-branding,
keeping it separate in the minds of consumers and lawmakers. The majority
of Americans don’t know about Instagram’s affiliation, according to a poll
last year by Reticle Research and the Verge. On LinkedIn, when employees
change jobs from Facebook to Instagram, they list Instagram as a separate

As the Cambridge Analytica
spiraled out of control, it touched Instagram only briefly, in tweets from
Elon Musk, the
Tesla Inc.
CEO. Musk said he shut down his Facebook page and the pages of his
companies, becoming the highest-profile businessperson to embrace a budding
movement. Some of his followers asked, what about Instagram? Instagram was
“borderline” but “probably okay,” Musk tweeted, “as long as it stays fairly

Instagram has launched several features in recent days as it tries to rise
above Facebook’s ongoing PR crisis. One receiving plenty of buzz is
portrait mode.


Instagram is one-upping Apple with a portrait mode feature that runs on a wider
variety of phones and works with video, not just photos. Last month,
TechCrunch reported about a Focus feature buried in Instagram’s code, which began publicly testing a week later. Now Instagram is
rolling out
Focus, which blurs the background while keeping someone’s face sharp for a
stylized, professional photography look. “Focus mode leverages background
segmentation and face detection technology,” an Instagram spokesperson told
me when asked how it works without the need for dual cameras.

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Another feature coming to Instagram is the “mentions sticker,” a clone of
Snapchat’s QR code.


Meanwhile, Instagram is starting to roll out Mentions stickers that make it
easy to tag friends in a Story with a stylized graphic instead of just
text. Instagram tested these last month, but now they’re becoming available
to all iOS users. Just like adding emoji to photos and videos, you can
select the Mention sticker, use the typeahead to find a friend’s username
and tag them in a resizable sticker. That lets people tap through to view
their profile, and generates a notification to the tagged user.

The feature could be useful in branding:


Nametags could make it easier for people to visually promote their
Instagram account. It could make it simple to follow a friend you just met
by having them open their Nametag and then you scanning it. Meanwhile,
businesses and social media stars could post their Nametag across other
social media handles, print it onto posters or handbills or even make
merchandise out of it.

What do you think of Instagram’s changes,
PR Daily
readers? Which seem most viable for marketing and branding efforts, and

(Image via)


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