Instagram will let you download your content after criticism about portability

Yesterday we reported that Instagram lacked data portability, knocking the app for the absence of an equivalent to Facebook’s Download Your Information too. Now an Instagram spokesman tells me” We are building a new data portability tool. You’ll soon be able to download a transcript of what you’ve shared on Instagram, including your photos, videos and messages .”

This tool could make it much easier for users to leave Instagram and go to a vying image social network. And as long as it launchings before May 25 th, it will help Instagram to comply with upcoming European GDPR privacy law that requires data portability.

Instagram traps data without a Download Your Information tool

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/10/instagram-download-your-photos/embed/#?secret=aPj828l0gR

Instagram has historically induced 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 tool in 2010, simply six years after launch.

We’re awaiting more info on whether you’ll merely be able to download your photos, videos, and messages; or if you’ll also be able to export your following and follower listings, 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. Instagram told me” we’ll share more details very soon when we actually launch appropriate tools. But at a high level it makes it possible to download and export what you have shared on Instagram” so we’ll have to wait for more clarity.

If Instagram does offer uncompressed downloads of the same image quality as it shows on its app, the Download Your Information tool could build unofficial third-party exportation apps like InstaPort obsolete. That would be a win for users since these apps are sometimes run by unscrupulous developers who could misuse your content or the Instagram login credentials you need to use them.

Portability could facilitate the rise of legitimate competitors to Instagram, or at least let users back up their content on an image storage app or their own computer. But still, it’s Instagram’s social graph and the data it’s met about your interests that help it tune its algorithm to indicate you the most relevant posts. This personalization moat can leave rivals with similar features unable to provide a similar level of service.

If Instagram wanted to truly level the playing field, it would let you export your social graph in a privacy-safe format that would let users find and follow those same people on a different app. But the announcement of current data portability tool is a much-needed first step to unlocking Instagram’s content vault.

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