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Artists Concerned Over Instagram’s New “Sensitive Content” Controls

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Sarah Goodridge’s painting “Beauty Revealed” (1828) covered with Instagram logos. (edit by Valentina Di Liscia for Hyperallergic)

Some artists are urging Instagram users to change a new default setting on the app that limits “sensitive content,” potentially screening certain artworks and other images. The feature, launched this week, is meant to help users decide how much content deemed “upsetting or offensive” appears on their Explore tab, a section of the app that shows posts curated by Instagram’s algorithm based on account activity.

The social media giant defines sensitive content as “posts that don’t necessarily break our rules, but could potentially be upsetting to some people” — citing violent or sexually explicit images, such as “pictures of people in see-through clothing,” and those that promote the use of regulated substances like tobacco or pharmaceutical drugs. Users can now choose to whether to “limit” these posts, “allow,” or “limit even more,” the most restrictive level.

But some artists worry the new controls will impact the reach of their work, particularly because “limit” was set as the default setting by Instagram without alerting its users.

“We don’t know how this will affect artists yet, but the fact is that overnight, everybody’s settings all of a sudden included an option to limit the content they see to varying degrees,” said artist Clarity Haynes, who posted screenshots on her Instagram showing how to deactivate the option. “You have to actually choose to not have your content filtered, and people who don’t know how to do that won’t even know it happened.”

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“I think of it as a kind of sanitizing of art, and it will most negatively affect artists who are pushing the envelope,” Haynes told Hyperallergic. “Decorative art that is not challenging will be fine, but LGBTQIA+ artists, artists of color, and feminist artists will probably be affected by this.”

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Instagram and Facebook, its parent company, have a complicated track record with artists, particularly when it comes to censorship. In 2019, the company held a roundtable with artists who said they were affected by Instagram’s policies on nudity, including the hyperrealist painter and photographer Marilyn Minter. The platform has also come under scrutiny for screening images of female nipples and not moderating male nipples in the same way.

In its Community Guidelines, Instagram says it does not allow nudity except in some contexts, including “photos of paintings and sculptures,” but it previously banned artist Betty Tomkins from the app altogether. In a recent post of one of her characteristic works depicting female genitalia, Tomkins added a caption addressed to Instagram’s review team: “This is a photo of a painting which is allowed under your community guidelines. Please leave it and my account alone.”

Haynes says Instagram’s move to set a default limit on certain content jars with the platform’s public identity as a democratic space for artists to operate freely, outside of the confines of the traditional art world.

“There’s this perception of Instagram being an equalizer that gets everyone past the gatekeepers, and this is the opposite of that,” Haynes said. “The fact that people can opt out means no one really will know the reach of their posts, and I think that’s going to further marginalize artists who are already marginalized. This is another nail in the coffin for art that is challenging.”

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Instagram has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

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Valentina Di Liscia is a staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Argentina, she studied at the University of Chicago and is currently working on her MA at Hunter College, where she received the Brodsky Scholarship for Latin American…

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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5-apps-for-scheduling-instagram-posts-on-iphone-and-android-–-mashable

Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?

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Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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