Fuck You Instagram

Quit Instagram. I’m serious.
Navigate to the website or the app and delete your account.
Do it now, without fear.
You don’t even have to backup your data, I guarantee in a few months your photos and videos will not be missed.

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Done? Of course not. It’s all right.
It’s really hard, I understand.

Perhaps Jaron Lanier will convince you, in text, in the book “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now”:
https://www.amazon.com/Arguments-Deleting-Social-Media-Accounts/dp/125019668X

Or in video:


If you are still reading, thank you.
This may mean that at least deep down you also feel that there is something very wrong in this entire ecosystem created by Instagram.
That is true for both individuals and companies.
I want to talk a little about the platform and for what reasons it does not deserve our time, or at least, my time.
This post is an invitation not only for your account deletion, but also an invitation for reflection. If only reflection takes place, it is a small victory.

Follow me on Instagram ๐Ÿ™„

I’m sick of attending events (currently online, COVID), presentations, meetings, or even chatting, and hearing people say:

Follow me on Instagram to see my content

Or companies:

Our company is on Instagram, follow us!

I think 99% of people and companies today indicate their Instagram account, rather than any other form of communication or content consumption.
WEBSITE, EMAIL, nobody?
It’s sad, but the truth is that we threw away the freedom and power we had on the internet/web.
And I say we threw away, because that’s it, when we adhere to the charms of Facebooks and Instagrams, we give up an internet that will never come back.
It is not nostalgia, it is not wanting the internet that we had before, it is not relying on status quo, it is the opposite. It means looking for freddom on the internet/web, no walls, no monopolies, no constant search for attention, no dopamine-first-apps. It’s trying to escape the new era of surveillance capitalism.

Instagram constantly puts more and more features that take away or complicate any and all public content.
That is, you don’t have an Instagram account? You cannot see the content.
Content that was created publicly. WTF.
Did someone create open content and for me to see, am I required to have an active account? Fuck You Instagram! ๐Ÿ–•

Basically Instagram is making everything private and forcing people to log in to consume public content.

The official statement about the change is comical:

This is to help people to see photos on Instagram and understand how to get the best Instagram experience by being part of the community, connecting and interacting with the people and things they love - Instagram

LOL!
I’m not a complete idiot, Instagram.

At the end of 2019, a Mashable article reported about the change in the iterface which allows only a few photos or videos to be accessed.
For those who, like me, do not use Instagram, it was still possible to follow public photos and videos, however, with a limit.
I actually do that, sometimes I navigate to the Instagram web page on the profile of an artist I like.
However, even this is no longer possible.

Below, a screenshot of my attempt to see a post from Fat Mike.

Fat Mike profile on Instagram

I can’t even see public posts from my own company:

BrazilJS profile on Instagram

And that’s the main point.
The content on Instagram is not yours, it’s owned by Instagram! | Instagram sells advertising and Instagram earns money.
And that money doesn’t just come with advertising, but with all the data, metadata and content produced by everyone on the platform.
This is totally insane. How do we let that happen?!?!

An important note is worth it.
I’m a programmer, so I know how to circumvent this imposition in the form of user interface, since the implementation of content blocking was done in a very simple way (for now).
Therefore, I leave here a small guide for anyone (even without technical knowledge) who wants to bypass this Instagram restriction.

  1. Go to the profile page, usually something like https://www.instagram.com/[NOME_DO_PERFIL]
  2. In your browser press the F12 key (depending on the browser it can be Ctrl+Shift+I), or look for something like “Developer Tools” in the menu
  3. Click on the tool with the arrow icon (circled in red in the image below)

Dev tools

  1. Now with the arrow enabled click on the image or video you want to see
  2. After clicking, a piece of code will appear next to that item on the Instagram page. We need the code that is right after "a href="

Dev Tools - Element selected

  1. The code will look something like "/p/B_hwEIfgBWC/"
  2. Now open a new tab in your browser and put the Instagram address + the copied code, something like: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_hwEIfgBWC/
  3. Done! This is the public content which Instagram should not block access!

BrazilJS public post on Instagram


As I’m writing this humble text, seeking to find sympathizers and put my angry feelings out, I come across the great text from Yaso talking about the importance of websites.

Damn, websites are important
- Yaso, 2020

It is mind-boggling the fact that I am writing this text so obvious about Instagram and even more obvious and more mind-blowing that Yaso is writing about the importance of FUCKING WEBSITES.
In the text Liรงรตes do Covid: sites sรฃo importantes, porra Yaso makes excellent observations.
For example, how the current pandemic moment shows governments and companies that there is a vital tool for digital transformation, the website.

A simple piece, neglected in nowadays, it is an important tool for sharing information with as many people as possible and at the same time serving as the institutions’ โ€œdigital homeโ€.
- Yaso, 2020

The web format is the most inclusive of all Internet formats. If done right, a website can load much faster the urgent information that citizens need, without spending the internet to download applications, or time registering on entry forms. In addition, version errors, such as when for example the application is not available for older cell phone models, do not happen with the website, which has a single version, valid for everyone, updated almost in real time.
- Yaso, 2020

I could use the full text as a quote, so if you got here, check the full text.
Yaso goes further, and gives an overview on how to build a website, a step by step, talking about content management, design, tools, etc.
As she says at the end of the article, “Doing the basics, in this case, is innovating: doing what almost nobody is doing”.


As I reported in the post Social Detox/Rehab, I have not been using social networks for almost two years.
It is a particular decision that has its problems and benefits. In my view, I see a lot more good things about being outside of social media.
But let’s get back to the focus, Instagram and its bad, monopolistic approach that places the last shovels of earth in the grave of the internet/web that we know in an industrial way.
It is already clear (or should be) to everyone that Facebook’s approaches are problematic, whether in their business, products or conduct.
Gradually, the topic of privacy has become more relevant and more and more people come to understand that their data is important.
Other topics, like the one in this post, should get more attention soon, and we’ll possible have a new era on the internet.

It is not the first and will not be the last time that Facebook focuses on questionable solutions that totally break open standards.
Even on technical issues, Zuckerberg and company could have helped a lot in the adoption of the Web as a platform, but they chose to go to the more comfortable side, and of course, it was directly connected with the company’s goals. After all, betting on an open standard does not make sense for any monopoly.

Conclusion

I hope this post to be an effective contribution and not just the daydreams of someone disappointed with the current state of the internet.
If only one person reflects on the matter and considers leaving Instagram, I think I’m satisfied.
This is hard and slow work. Deconstructing empires is not an easy task, especially when the evils brought by them are hidden amid the few and superficial benefits.

References

Liรงรตes do Covid: sites sรฃo importantes, porra
https://medium.com/@yaso/li%C3%A7%C3%B5es-do-covid-sites-s%C3%A3o-importantes-porra-473d69da12ad

Forced to sign in just to use the website?
https://www.reddit.com/r/Instagram/comments/diw5de/forced_to_sign_in_just_to_use_the_website/

Instagram now forces people to sign in to view public profiles
https://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2019/10/28/instagram-now-forces-people-to-sign-in-to-view-public-profiles/

You canโ€™t lurk on Instagram anymore unless youโ€™re logged in
https://mashable.com/article/instagram-requires-log-in-to-view-profiles/

Mark Zuckerberg: Our Biggest Mistake Was Betting Too Much On HTML5
https://techcrunch.com/2012/09/11/mark-zuckerberg-our-biggest-mistake-with-mobile-was-betting-too-much-on-html5/