Facebook Testing Cross-Posting Stories to Instagram

Facebook is testing a new feature that would allow Facebook Stories to be cross-posted to Instagram Stories, reports TechCrunch.

Right now, Instagram Stories can be shared to Facebook Stories, but the reverse is not possible. The new option would allow Stories to be shared interchangeably from one platform to another.


Jane Manchun Wong, who often digs into unreleased features in social media apps, discovered the option to share a Facebook story to Instagram in the Facebook for Android app. In the version of the app with the toggle, once a Facebook Story has been created, there's an option to tap Privacy to review who to share it with, which is where the option to post to Instagram is located.

A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch that the cross-posting feature is being formally tested to "make it easier to share moments with the people who matter to you."

Facebook has been slowly adding Facebook features to Instagram since Instagram's founders left Facebook in 2018. There's an "Open Facebook" button in the Settings menu of Instagram, and the wording "Instagram - From Facebook" is shown on the title screen of the app.
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Instagram CEO Says iPad App Hasn’t Been Made Yet Because ‘We Only Have So Many People, and Lots to Do’

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri took to the platform over the weekend to answer a few user questions on his story, shared by The Verge's Chris Welch. Among the many things asked, the topic of an official iPad app for Instagram was brought up, and Mosseri explained why we haven't seen one yet.

According to Mosseri, the company "would like to build an ‌iPad‌ app" for Instagram, "But we only have so many people, and lots to do, and it hasn't bubbled up as the next best thing to do yet."

Instagram is technically viewable on ‌iPad‌ in a number of ways, but the company has never released a first-party ‌iPad‌ app that's been optimized for the tablet.

Instagram users have been asking for an official ‌iPad‌ app nearly since the social network launched in 2010, the same year that the first ‌iPad‌ was released. Some alternatives include third-party Instagram apps for ‌iPad‌, browsing Instagram on the web on ‌iPad‌, or using the upscaled iPhone app on ‌iPad‌.


In another small tidbit shared during the Q&A, Mosseri explained that a very small group of Instagram users never see ads of any kind in the app, so that Instagram can "understand the effect of that."

Following the Cambridge Analytica controversy, Facebook and its family of companies have been pivoting and focusing on numerous security and privacy-related issues, as well as trying to make their platforms less hostile. As a recent example, Instagram began hiding "likes" from user posts last November, in an effort to "depressurize" the platform.

Amid all of the scandals, Instagram's original co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left Facebook in 2018, leading way for Mosseri's advancement from the Facebook news team to Instagram CEO.


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Instagram Removes IGTV Button From Home Screen Following Lack of User Engagement

Instagram is dropping the IGTV button from the top-right corner of the app's home screen because not enough people are interacting with it.


First launched in June 2018, IGTV is Instagram's long-form video streaming service that's designed to compete with youtube. IGTV focuses on full-screen vertical video, with the ability to interact with other users while watching videos.

The Facebook-owned company told TechCrunch that it was removing the button because not enough users were tapping it, and that people were discovering IGTV content in other ways.
"As we've continued to work on making it easier for people to create and discover IGTV content, we've learned that most people are finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators' profiles and the standalone app. Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app" a Facebook company spokesperson tells TechCrunch. "We always aim to keep Instagram as simple as possible, so we're removing this icon based on these learnings and feedback from our community."
The IGTV icon previously appeared alongside the DM icon

IGTV hasn't completely gone away in Instagram. Users wanting to access IGTV content within the app can still do so by tapping the IGTV tab inside Instagram Explore (the same screen as the search function). People can also post IGTV videos right from the main Instagram feed post video uploader.

According to TechCrunch, no more than 7 million of Instagram's 1 billion-plus users have downloaded the standalone IGTV app in the 18 months since it launched, so it makes sense that Instagram is folding the service deeper into its app. But with the massive success of rival platforms like TikTok, it's hard to predict where IGTV turns next in order to increase adoption rates.


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Instagram Bringing Direct Messages to the Web

Starting today, Instagram is bringing direct messaging options to the web. As noted by The Verge, a small number of Instagram's global users can access their direct messages from the Instagram website in addition to the iPhone app.

The rollout today to a limited number of customers is just a test, though depending on how it goes a wider rollout could come in the future.


Direct messaging on the web is almost identical to direct messaging through the ‌iPhone‌, so the interface will be familiar to Instagram users. You can start a DM with someone from a profile page or the DM screen, and there are options to create groups.

Double tapping likes a message, there's an option to see how many unread messages are available, and photos from the desktop can be shared in DMs. Notifications for DMs can also be received if notifications are enabled for the Instagram site in the browser.


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Instagram to Start Hiding ‘Likes’ in the US This Week

Instagram is to begin testing hiding content "likes" in the United States this week. The change will first be rolled out to a limited number of accounts in the U.S., and users of those accounts will still be able to see how many likes they got on their own posts.

The plan was announced at WIRED25 by head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, who also took to Twitter to share the news.
"It's about young people," Mosseri said during the Wired panel. "The idea is to try to 'depressurize' Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them."

"It means we're going to put a 15-year-old kid's interests before a public speaker's interest," he added. "When we look at the world of public content, we're going to put people in that world before organizations and corporations."
Hiding likes would fundamentally change the way Instagram works, as liking photos and garnering likes is one of the platform's main features.


The Facebook-owned, photo-based platform has conducted similar trials in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The removal of Instagram likes follows other recent user-focused changes, like the addition of a timer that shows users how long they've spent in the app, and the removal of the Instagram Activities feed.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Saturday praised Instagram's decision to bring its like-hiding experiments to the U.S., retweeting Mosseri's Friday tweet and adding the comment, "Great step."

Dorsey has previously questioned the wisdom of Twitter's own use of likes. At last year's WIRED25 summit, the Twitter chief said: "Right now we have a big Like button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up [to get more followers]. Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentive healthy conversation?"

Twitter has since played down reports that it plans to kill off the like button, but has acknowledged that it continues to look at the function's use and how it fits in with the platform's aim to promote "healthy conversation."


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Instagram Gains Support for iOS 13’s Dark Mode

Popular social networking app Instagram was today updated to add Dark Mode support for iOS 13, introducing a darker theme that activates when Dark Mode is turned on.

The new Dark Mode option is available throughout the app, from viewing the main feed to browsing to the profile. Dark Mode can be accessed by activating Dark Mode on an iPhone running the iOS 13 update.


To get Dark Mode, the latest version of Instagram is required, even though the release notes don't mention the new feature.


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US, UK, and Australia Urge Zuckerberg Not to Extend Encrypted Messaging to Facebook and Instagram

U.S., U.K., and Australian officials have contacted Facebook to request that it provides authorities with a way to access encrypted messages sent by users over the social network, it was revealed today.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp already uses end-to-end encryption to ensure only senders and recipients can read messages, but Facebook intends to extend the same protocols to its Messenger and Instagram Direct chat platforms.


However, government officials have penned an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him not to go ahead with the plan – or if it does, to at least give authorities a way to read encrypted messages for reasons of law enforcement, and in particular to prevent child sexual exploitation.

A draft of the letter, obtained by BuzzFeed News, is set to be released in tandem with an announcement on a new data-sharing agreement between law enforcement in the U.S. and the U.K. aimed at removing barriers to cross-border surveillance.
"We are writing to request that Facebook does not proceed with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services without ensuring that there is no reduction to user safety," the letter reads.

"Risks to public safety from Facebook’s proposals are exacerbated in the context of a single platform that would combine inaccessible messaging services with open profiles, providing unique routes for prospective offenders to identify and groom our children."

"Security enhancements to the virtual world should not make us more vulnerable in the physical world. Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes."
The letter, dated October 4, is signed by U.S. Attorney General William P Barr, U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel, acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, and the Australian minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton.
"We believe people have the right to have a private conversation online, wherever they are in the world," a Facebook spokesperson said in response to the letter. "Ahead of our plans to bring more security and privacy to our messaging apps, we are consulting closely with child safety experts, governments and technology companies and devoting new teams and sophisticated technology so we can use all the information available to us to help keep people safe."

"We strongly oppose government attempts to build backdoors because they would undermine the privacy and security of people everywhere."
Zuckerberg also defended his decision to encrypt Facebook's messaging services, despite concerns about its impact on child exploitation and other criminal activity.

Speaking on Thursday in a livestreamed version of the company's weekly internal Q&A session, the CEO said child exploitation risks weighed "most heavily" on him when he was making the decision and pledged steps to minimize harm.

Apple has long opposed government attempts to gain access to encrypted communications through the use of backdoors in iOS devices.

In 2016, a U.S. federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI hack into the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

The FBI asked Apple to create a version of iOS that would both disable passcode security features and allow passcodes to be entered electronically, allowing it to then brute force the passcode on the device.

Apple announced that it would oppose the order in an open letter penned by Tim Cook, who said the FBI's request would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple said the software the FBI asked for could serve as a "master key" able to be used to get information from any iPhone or iPad - including its most recent devices - while the FBI claimed it only wanted access to a single iPhone.

Apple's dispute with the FBI ended on March 28, 2016 after the government found an alternate way to access the data on the iPhone through the help of Israeli firm Cellebrite and withdrew the lawsuit.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Instagram is Developing Another Direct Messaging App to Rival Snapchat

Facebook is said to be working on another messaging app called "Threads" that would act as a companion to the main Instagram app, reports The Verge.


Despite the demise of its standalone "Direct" messaging app, the social media company still appears intent on challenging Snapchat with the development of a rival platform. To that end, Threads would promote "constant, intimate sharing between users and close friends."

As per the Direct app, the core of Threads is messaging, and it looks very similar to Instagram's existing messaging interface. Messages from people on the user's "close friends" list in Instagram appear in a central feed, with a green dot indicating who is currently active.

Users can opt in to automatic sharing and Threads will regularly update their status, providing friends with real-time details on their location, speed, and more. The Verge notes that the app doesn't currently show friends a user's real-time location, but instead might say something like "on the move."

If a friend has posted an Instagram story recently, it can be viewed from inside Threads as well. There's also a camera interface for capturing photos and videos to share with close friends.

Whether Threads ever goes public remains to be seen, but it's worth noting that the Instagram Direct app was killed off because beta testers were reportedly frustrated about having to switch between Instagram and a second app for messages.

Still, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in March that he sees private messaging as the future of the company, so Threads could turn out to be a big part of that future.


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Instagram Website Flaw Exposed Users’ Phone Numbers and Email Addresses

A security researcher found a flaw in Instagram's website that caused thousands of users' email addresses and phone numbers to be exposed online for several weeks, it was revealed on Thursday.

David Stier, a data scientist and business consultant, told CNET the website source code for some Instagram user profiles included the account holder's contact information whenever it loaded in a web browser.

Although the contact information was available in Instagram's mobile app if users chose to reveal it in their profile, it was never displayed on the desktop version of the Instagram website, so it's unclear why the details were exposed.

The leaked contacts are said to have come from thousands of accounts belonging to private individuals, including minors, as well businesses and brands. Stier alerted Instagram to the problem shortly after discovering it in February, and the photo-focused social platform issued a patch in March.

According to Stier, including the details in the source code could have let hackers scrape the data from the website relatively easily and use it to compile a database listing the contact information of thousands of Instagram users.

A similar data haul may have already occurred. On Monday it was revealed that a database containing contact information for millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities, and brand accounts had been leaked online.

The records included public data pulled from Instagram, such as profile picture, biography, and follower numbers, but also private contact information like phone numbers and email addresses.

The database was initially uploaded and shared by Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox, a company that pays Instagram influencers to share sponsored content. Though uploaded by Chtrbox, the database included info from influencers who have never worked with the company.

In a statement, Chtrbox said the information in its database wasn't private and that it didn't source the information through unethical means.

Instagram parent company Facebook said on Monday that it was investigating the Chtrbox database. "We're also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available," said Facebook.

A similar privacy befell the social media platform in August 2017, when a bug related to an Instagram API allowed hackers to breach multiple high-profile Instagram accounts belonging to celebrities.


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Contact Info for Millions of Instagram Influencers, Celebrities, and Brand Accounts Leaked Online

A database that contained contact information for millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities, and brand accounts was recently leaked online, reports TechCrunch.

The database, which was hosted by Amazon Web Services and contains more than 49 million records, was accessible without a password or other credentials according to the security researcher who informed TechCrunch about the leak.

Records include public data pulled from Instagram, such as profile picture, biography, and follower numbers, but also private contact information like phone numbers and email addresses.

Records also calculated the "worth" of each account based on follower count, engagement, reach, likes, and shares.

The database was initially uploaded and shared by Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox, a company that pays Instagram influencers to share sponsored content. Though uploaded by Chtrbox, the database includes info from influencers who have never worked with the company.
TechCrunch found several high-profile influencers in the exposed database, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers.

We contacted several people at random whose information was found in the database and provided them their phone numbers. Two of the people responded and confirmed their email address and phone number found in the database was used to set up their Instagram accounts. Neither had any involvement with Chtrbox, they said.
After hearing from TechCrunch, Chtrbox took the database offline, but the company's CEO did not respond to a request for comment on how the data was obtained.

Instagram parent company Facebook said that it was looking into the issue and aiming to determine whether the data was from Instagram or other sources. "We're also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available," said Facebook.


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