Instagram will soon let you download everything you’ve ever posted

By Prarthana Mitra

Facebook-owned Instagram announced that it will soon be launching a data portability tool which will allow users to download a copy of all that they had shared on the platform, including photographs, videos, and messages. The move comes in response to sharp criticism from cyber-rights and privacy activists, and tightening regulations of the virtual landscape worldwide.

At a time when users are clamouring to protect their data on social media, with some even joining the #DeleteFacebook bandwagon, Instagram has received flak for its lack of a Download Your Information (DYI) tool, which is the currently the only feasible option to protect our content and memories, and reduce our reliance on these data-harvesting platforms. Without this option, to export data in the eventuality of a violation or a breach, users are virtually at the mercy of Instagram’s product and policy decisions, reports TechCrunch.

Unlocking Instagram’s data vault, at long last

Instagram is also currently faced with a potential data clampdown from the European Union (EU), whose General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is slated to come into effect on May 25. The new regulations demand that companies allow their users to easily move their data from one service to another. Creating a locally-stored backup will hopefully absolve Instagram of its difficult history with exporting data, and may also help it toe the line.

Instagram will soon be celebrating its 8th birthday, and over the years has amassed over 800 million users across the world. However, until its recent announcement, the Kevin Styrom-led social media did not allow users to download the photos they posted or even export their data. In comparison, Facebook rolled out its DYI tool in 2010, only six years after it launched.

Are we getting a high-resolution backup of our data?

Even with the new feature, it still remains uncertain whether Instagram’s downloadable data will include metadata like captions, likes, comments, and stories. It is also unclear whether the data’s quality will be downscaled and compressed.

“We’ll share more details very soon when we actually launch the tool. But at a high level it allows you to download and export what you have shared on Instagram.” a spokesperson for Instagram told TechCrunch.

Instagram’s portability feature could finally lead to the rise of legitimate competitors for the social media platform. At the least, the move could finally allow users to back up their content and precious moments on an image storage app or a hard drive. Emerging social media and photo-sharing platforms like Vero are already poised to tap into the #igers market. However, the question of verisimilitude remains, until users get their zip file worth of content back.

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