Sunday, October 09, 2016

Instagram Direct Does Not Protect Recipient of Message

Over the past few years on Instagram, I would either have my Instagram photos reposted and credited by cafes and restaurants or get requests from various Instagram accounts to do shout outs for me.

I don't mind if my photos are posted with credit and would always appreciate the eateries for the kind mention and exposure.

It is the latter that I am more cautious about.

Of course sponsors from hair salon accounts and other beauty-related accounts are more than welcome to approach me. Unfortunately with the introduction of Instagram Direct, I would often see their messages a few months late and lose out on the offers since I do not get notifications from accounts I do not follow.

So which are the accounts I am cautious about? Babe-themed, hot Asian-themed, sexy ladies-themed and the likes are what I'm referring to.

Whenever I post work out selfies, I would have the above mentioned Instagram accounts asking my permission to repost my photo in the comments section.

Just looking at their account names and tapping into their accounts did not give me good vibes.

Sometimes, I would reply them that I do not want to be featured. At other times, I figured that no reply is a form of reply. They would respect me and not post my photos of course.

Some would delete their comments after a while and there would no longer be traceable links to them. For those that I replied before that, you would see that the accounts are not available but at least something I would always have their account names sealed in the comments.

Recently, the administrators of such accounts are reaching out via Instagram Direct. I guess that Instagram Direct is more personalized and professional. However, I soon realized that it is more for the privacy and to cover their digital tracks.

I thought that Instagram Direct works like email whereby whatever that the sender sends would be in my inbox.

I was mistaken.

Instagram Direct protects the sender and not the recipient. Instagram senders CAN DELETE their messages from recipients’ phones.

To quote from the link I've shared, Instagram Direct not only leaves the detonation button in the hands of the sender, but the act of deleting a photo interrupts the recipient’s viewing of the photo. This also means that it leaves the recipient no trace of the contents that the sender sends if a screenshot was not captured before the message is deleted. Even as you are reading the message, it could simply disappear if the sender deletes the message there and then.

I'm sure every one of us would experience the foolishness of accidentally sending an email or message and wishing we could undo it. Actual opportunities to undo a message are uncommon. Also quoting examples from the same link I've shared, Gmail offers a brief “undo” option for sent e-mails, for instance, and certain types of Microsoft Exchange server setups facilitate this. But with Internet messaging, once it is sent, it is out there.

Instagram Direct appeals to senders because they are in control of what they send.

All senders REJOICE!

However as a recipient, I got the short end of the stick.

One of my recent encounter was with a Singapore babe website. I will not be dropping any name but this "number one babes and lifestyle website" used their Instagram account of the same name to send me 3 direct messages over a few months.

It started off with this account following me and liking my photos. It then sent its first message saying that they love my photos and asking if I would like to be featured on their account.

At that time, their account had babes all right. But those babes look kinda unclassy and some shots look sleazy. Many of the girls look like underaged Ah Lians or mollers (local slang for models wannabe). Their answers to the mandatory questions for the photo caption like a short introduction of themselves and the type of men that attract them did not impress me at all.

To be fair, this sg babe account had been polite in their message. However, I did not want to be associated to their babe theme in such a manner and hence did not reply.

This sg babe account continued being my follower and would occasionally like my photos. Then came their second and third messages. It took me some time to realize that I had two unread messages from them, along with many other messages from people whom I'm not following as I do not get notifications for these.

This time I was "invited" to be featured and was given a direct link to a form. As usual, they were polite and wrote some niceties about how much they love my account, my photos, my style etc.

I sensed their sincerity and decided to QC their Instagram account once more. I also noticed that they have a website that looks pretty decent. Scrolling through their account, I found a lot more wholesome babes featured. There was even a pretty mother of two being featured.

I asked my hubby what he thought of this website and IG account, whether it is legit or sleazy and he thought that it looked pretty decent too. I gave him a background to this and made the decision to be featured on their Instagram page.

Upon checking out their feature form, I realised to my horror that the waiting time is 15 months! If they have so many people wanting to be featured on their own accord, why would they still have to reach out to Instagrammers personally? What did it meant to be invited by them?

I noticed the clause (see underlined in screenshot below) about skipping the queue and hence decided to reply their message via Instagram Direct about it. I had already typed out my answers to their mandatory questions for the caption and have decided to send the form once I get their positive reply.
I mean to be invited by them and having a favourable impression of them from their polite messages, wouldn't it be natural to expect a positive reply from them?

NO...




Here is my Instagram Direct reply to them:





I knew my message was read as indicated by the "Seen". Shortly after reading my message, I realised that I could no longer scroll up to see all their previous messages to me.

I thought there was an error, consulted Google and found out the truth about missing Instagram Direct messages: they had deleted their messages to me.

As if sparking a chain of reaction, they also deleted their comments on my photos and unfollowed me.

What did all of these mean?

Did one of their administrator make a mistake to feature me? Not once but thrice.

Was there a sudden disagreement among the administrators to reach out to me?

Perhaps they were offended by my message? Even if they were, it doesn't seem quite professional to handle it in such a manner.

Or are they simply trying to erase all digital evidence of them reaching out to me and made it such that I was the one approaching them to be featured?

The most likely deduction would be the last one. You noticed the parts I circled in the 1st screenshot:

Which photo will you choose from my profile for the feature?
Whichever photo we think you look the best in!

By submitting the form, you are giving them access to use any of your photo they deem fit! What they think you look best in may not be the photo which you think you look best in. You don't get to choose at all and yet you are giving them full power to use your photos.

All their actions after my reply to them DISGUSTS me as no credible Singapore's number one babe and lifestyle website and Instagram account would react in such a way. I wonder if they also did  the same thing to the many Instagrammers they had reached out to.

I regretted not taking screenshots of everything before they erased their digital trail and this happened because Instagram Direct does not protect the recipients.

This encounter which I've shared had not harmed me in any way but I'm sure any of you could see the possible dangers that Instagram Direct could pose to unsuspecting people.

What are your thoughts to Instagram Direct or anything Instagram? Have you any interesting encounters to share about unpleasant encounters on social media platforms? Has any Singaporean babe been approached by this account too?

Let's hear what you have to say in the comments section!

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