Clarity Haynes’s Grace (2019)
Courtesy of the artist
Accusations of censorship have beleaguered Instagram since its creation. Art is frequently in the app’s firing line for portraying nudity, which is allowed only “in photos of paintings and sculptures”. The filters often get this wrong, preventing posts of art that don’t actually contravene Instagram’s community guidelines, and punishing users. Last month, the photo-sharing app introduced new “sensitive content” controls that effectively allow people to self-censor the images they see on their “Explore” tab. How will this new feature affect the art world?
The control options are “Allow”—which the app says will mean you see “more photos and videos that could be upsetting or offensive”—“Limit” or “Limit even more”. But “Limit” is the default—users have to change the setting manually. Instagram introduced the new controls quietly but screengrabs quickly went viral. Yet many people still don’t know that they exist. In an online statement, Instagram says that the “Limit” level “is the same level of potentially upsetting or offensive content we’ve previously limited in Explore”.
But some users have spotted a difference. “I have noticed some posts suddenly seem to stop having any reach and I’ve heard from others, who have checked their engagement numbers, that their reach is way down,” says the US artist Clarity Haynes, whose queer feminist works, like Grace (2019) above, have been censored by Instagram.
It also seems that not everyone has the option to “Allow”—many accounts, including my own, can only choose how much to limit so-called sensitive content. It is unclear whether this is because of a gradual roll-out of the feature or restrictions on some accounts.
If the controls do limit the reach of certain posts it could have a detrimental effect on those who rely on Instagram for business. Haynes says there is “no question” that people will now lose money and that it is unrepresented artists who rely on the app the most. The art world, she adds, “is 100% dependent on Instagram… There really is no comparable social media platform for artists.”
Some have suggested that the new controls may mean that fewer things will be censored or deleted. “Maybe the prudes that keep reporting things won’t see things they find offensive now,” says Denia Kazakou, the founder of RedD Gallery in Chaniá, Greece, who posts works by artists that have been deemed “sensitive” by Instagram. “So far, I’m still seeing just as much—if not more—active censorship,” says Haynes.
By actively favouring “non-sensitive” content, Instagram’s new filter might even change the works that artists produce and galleries show. “I think these draconian restrictions encourage a kind of sanitised culture,” says Haynes, adding that LGBTQ artists, artists of colour and feminist artists will be most affected.
To change the controls on your Instagram account go to Settings, click Account and then go to “Sensitive content control”
5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
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.
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.
Credit: 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.
Credit: 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.
Credit: 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.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: 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.
Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters
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.”
How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?
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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