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Social Platforms Starting to Notify Users When Screen Recorders Save Content

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Posted May 31, 2018

Recently social platforms seem to have started to introduce features that notify users when screen recorders are used to save their content. In particular this targets ‘self-destructing’ temporary content such as Snapchat posts or Instagram Stories that is meant to eventually disappear.

Temporary content has taken social media by storm ever since it was popularized by Snapchat, and the idea of posts that disappear after a certain duration has firmly taken root. However as much as the content may disappear and not be visible to followers, if someone were to record screen they could effectively save a copy of it.

A Step Towards Privacy and Accountability

While using screen recording to ‘save’ content isn’t new and has been completely invisible to users up till now, in the past social platforms have rarely concerned themselves with it for two reasons: Screen recording wasn’t as widely used, and users didn’t expect their content to disappear.

With temporary posts however, the latter is no longer true. When a user publishes content on Snapchat or Instagram Stories, they expect it to be completely gone after a period of time. Having others ‘save’ content that is meant to be temporary is generally unwelcome, and in some cases may even be creepy or be used for harassment.

Because of that, the move to notify users when screen recorders are used to save content is viewed as a step in the right direction and one that will promote greater privacy and accountability. By allowing users to see who is saving their content, it will enable them to take action if necessary.

Initially Snapchat begun to notify users when any content was captured using a screen recorder or screenshot, and more recently Instagram followed suit as well. The timing coincides with the fact that the recent iOS 11 update introduced screen recording to the platform, and made it more convenient in the process.

What to Expect

For now the impact of this feature is limited to a notification as social platforms cannot disable screen recording on their own. In fact several workarounds to avoid notifications have already surfaced such as switching to ‘Airplane mode’ before recording – but it has since been plugged.

In a larger sense notifying users regarding potentially unwanted behavior is generally seen as a positive to help address some of the issues regarding privacy, safety and harassment that often surface on social platforms. Whether other features are introduced in a similar vein to help curb creepy social media activity remains to be seen.

Considering the success these notification features have had since they were introduced, it is likely that other social platforms may start to roll them out as well. If temporary content continues to be as popular as it currently is, other measures may also be taken in the future to prevent or discourage followers from using screen recording to ‘save’ content – or at least allow users to take action if and when they do.

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