Instagram Opens Snappy New Events Channel

2016.09.01 01

Instagram last week announced a new Explore video channel that gives users an easier way to find and watch events.

The channel aggregates videos from concerts, sporting events and more, and its personalization features flag events that might be a good match for users’ individual interests.

The new channel initially will be available only to U.S. users.

“One of the fundamental limitations of Instagram is that you only see content from people you explicitly follow,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

“The timeline is strictly limited to people you’ve chosen to see — with the exception of ads,” he noted.

“One of the challenges is always how to get people to see and engage with content from additional users,” Dawson told TechNewsWorld. “The Explore tab has always been a way for Instagram to do this, and adding event-driven content to the tab provides new ways for people to find additional content they might be interested in.”

Instagram Opens Snappy New Events Channel

How to spot an Instagram scammer

2016.08.29 07

As a general rule, anyone who posts pictures of money and talks about investment opportunities is probably trouble. Those are the hallmarks of the “money flipper” scam, a criminal scheme that’s been troubling Instagram for years. The accounts boast a mysterious investment system, posting cash and other luxury goods as proof that it works. Then, in a direct message, they’ll offer to cut followers in on the deal. Sometimes the offer is to split a money order, other times it’s for access to an empty debit card account — but either way, the scammer abruptly walks off with a few hundred dollars and the mark is left to pick up the tab.

It’s a simple scam, but it’s become remarkably popular on Instagram. A report released today by the threat intelligence firm ZeroFox found a total of 4,574 unique instances of the scam on Instagram since 2013, spread across 1,386 different accounts. That’s just a fraction of the 2 million posts scanned by ZeroFOX, and an even smaller fraction of the 30 billion posts on the platform itself. Still, it suggests the scam has found a persistent niche on Instagram, and according to ZeroFox, it could present a long-term problem for any financial companies looking to use Instagram for more than just marketing.

How to spot an Instagram scammer

Instagram’s Stories Inspired by Snapchat

2016.08.07 04

Everyone has a story to tell, and Instagram on Tuesday announced Stories, a new way for users to tell theirs.

Stories allows Instagram users to string together images and videos for a dynamic slide show presentation that can be shared with friends or the entire Instagram community.

Rather than sharing pictures and videos individually with others on the platform, a user can choose to share them through a story. Someone following the story simply taps the new story icon on the Instagram interface to see the latest addition or to watch it from beginning to end.

Story content can be enhanced with a number of text and drawing tools. The content is ephemeral: It disappears in 24 hours unless a user chooses to preserve it.

Stories from people a user follows appear in a bar across the top of the app’s feed screen. When there’s something new to see, a colorful ring appears around the person’s profile photo.

For Snapchat users, Stories no doubt seems familiar.

“It has the same name as Snapchat’s stories, and it seems to be a direct copying of what someone else has done,” noted Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

Stories meets a need for Instagram users, said Jackdaw’s Dawson.

“If you spend a day doing something, you may have a bunch of pictures you want to share, but you don’t want to ‘overgram.’ So you only post one or two pictures and you feel sad you didn’t post more,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“This allows you to post a bunch of material with people without crunching up their feed,” Dawson added.

Instagram’s Stories Inspired by Snapchat