Instagram killed the idea of notifying people about other individuals screenshotting their stories, BuzzFeed reports, citing an official statement from the Facebook-owned firm. The company has been experimenting with the functionality earlier this year, having started doing so this February, prompting significant backlash on social media. The feature never made it past the testing phase and only affected a small number of people relative to Instagram's user base that's some 800 million strong as of last fall, though it's presently unclear when exactly Instagram resolved to drop it.
The firm never went into elaborate explanations over why it experimented with such a polarizing functionality in the first place, having only hinted that it considered letting users know when someone screenshots their posts shared via the Story format because such activities go against the ephemeral nature of the service. Inspired by Snapchat, Instagram Stories have been designed as a way for users to temporarily share multimedia content with their friends. Even people who ended up being part of Instagram's notification test quickly found ways to circumvent the functionality and continue taking screengrabs without letting their online friends know they're doing so; the most common method users relied on was activating the Airplane mode on their smartphones before taking a screenshot, then force-closing the app before reconnecting their handset to the Internet.
Authors of photos and videos that ended up being preserved by other people were previously able to see who resolved to screenshot their content by opening a list of any post's viewers and looking for a star symbol next to the names of screengrabbing users. Much like Instagram hasn't explained the introduction of the experimental feature earlier this year, it avoided going into any explanations behind why it opted to remove it, though the development was likely related to user engagement, a performance metric no social media company wants to compromise no matter what.