Whether you've taken an innocent screenshot from a funny video or snapped a pic of your best friend's ex's story to show them how awful they look these days, most of us are guilty when it comes to disrespecting the ephemeral nature of Instagram's Stories feature, which, for the uninitiated, functions a lot like Snapchat in that posts disappear after 24 hours. Unfortunately for anyone accustomed to this practice, the social media platform is currently testing a new feature that alerts users when someone has taken a screenshot of their story.
According to TechCrunch, select users included in the test have been getting notifications upon screenshotting that read: "Next time you take a screenshot or screen recording, the person who posted the story will be able to see." Yikes. Users are, understandably, shaken.
But before you panic, consider that Instagram won't be sending push notifications to users when someone screenshots their story. Instead, they'll have to look in their list of story viewers to find out which of their followers have been saving their stories for posterity. The feature is also no different from the way that Snapchat already operates. Also consider the fact that, if Instagram ends up rolling out the feature, you too will be able to see whose 'shotting your stories, and what a treat that could be. But given that, prior to this, Instagram only alerted users if someone had screenshotted a direct message, the change is bound to result in some awkward digital faux pas. After all, nobody really wants the people they're creeping on to know they're creeping on them, do they?
Instagram has confirmed the testing to TechCrunch, saying in a statement: "We are always testing ways to improve the experience on Instagram and make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you."
Instagram is likely monitoring user reactions to the feature closely and may decide not to roll it out if the response is as overwhelmingly negative as it appears to be. That being said, the feature may make some users —particularly women and those prone to cyberbullying—feel safer, in which case, the rest of us will have to find some other way to circumvent the intentions of social media platforms.