So here’s something rich. A lovely creative developer named Austin Huang created an app
a while back that lets you browse Instagram without being tracked or logged in. I found out about it because I was browsing a list of Humane Tech
up on Github that mentioned it in their Social and Fediverse section (P.S. check it out it’s cool). Anyways, by the time I traveled over to this person’s site, the app had unfortunately been taken down because of a very threatening letter that Facebook had sent them. The letter itself has kindly been uploaded by the creator, and you can read it in all of its bullshit victim-blaming glory right here:
Can I just point out the incredibly obvious hypocrisy of accusing a third party developer of violating insta’s T&C by, as they put it, “Using or sharing user data without the users’ consent”???? I know this person doesn’t have the time, money, or will to fight this bullshit demand, but I highly doubt that everything in this scare letter is actionable, especially the bit about voluntarily sending them all sorts of code and data that they would undoubtedly use to try and patch whatever holes their walled garden may have. I very very much hope they did not get that information, because they have no right to it, not from one person who built an app for viewing their site.
But let’s be real about what they’re really concerned about here--the main thing they’re taking issue with is the ability to use the service while being anonymized, which a ton of folks want because a) they don’t want targeted ads, and b) some of them have friends and family on the service, but don’t want to get an account to view their content, mostly because of said ads. Facebook is really only upset because this app lets them do that, which screws up their metrics and keeps them from being able to sell their users the way Facebook is known to do. I do hope these things keep popping up too fast for FB to shut them down, because this cancerous business model needs to go.
To be honest, IG is the only social media I really have left. I do have friends and family on it that I don’t connect with elsewhere, and it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve told them that I can’t communicate with them this way. I could make that jump, but the part that keeps me from doing it is that IG allows me to connect with several art communities that are very niche and not present elsewhere, at least in such large numbers. In particular, the dolling community, which is vibrant, but small, and it’s difficult to find most of its members in one place anywhere else (except for one very toxic not-to-be-named forum which deleted my account. If you know, you know). Since most of the doll community is art-focused and does customizing, painting, sewing, etc., there are quite a lot of them there, and tagging features makes it really easy for us to find each other. I really hate giving that up, though I may start to look for connections in other places moving forward. Pinterest has a similar presence, but since they do almost as much ad-targeting and tracking, so I’m not sure if that’s much of an improvement, or if I’m just replacing one evil with another. I will say I’ve been posting less these days, though, since I’m just too disgusted to engage with IG’s BS most of the time.
Not that I’m against being the change or anything, but it’s usually a lonely enterprise until others show up.