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Being an Instagram creator has its drawbacks

Instagram

One of the most popular social-media platforms is Instagram. In a report dated July 2022, Instagram was estimated to have more than 1.44 billion users worldwide, making it ones of the most popular platforms for creators to make themselves. Even while everything appears to be going well as a creator on the platform, things can sometimes get far worse.

Please take note that the thoughts in this article are completely based on our perceptions of social media platforms and our personal interactions with them. No outside party or social media company rewards them in any way.

Getting Popular on Instagram

First of all, it takes an lot of work to become a creator. It’s challenging to work viewers into followers on Instagram because of the app’s difficult workings and the reach and engagement your posts & Reels receive.

If you try to figure-out how to increase your reach, you will fall down a rabbit hole trying to understand Instagram’s algorithmic feed, complete with the numbers of stories you need to post, the best times for posting photos and Reels, and optimising your captions with the best hashtags, among a tonne of other things.

To make out on Instagram, one must put a lot of work into their presence. We carried out exactly the same action. We have just over 385k followers on our Instagram profile (Techgigs) at the start of March 2022. Furthermore, we had been circling around 300k at that point for almost a year.

Instagram

From there, it only took us four months to reach 1 million page followers. A significant accomplishment and the point at which we could legitimately refer to ourselves as “Instagram creators.”

Instagram

As happy as we are to have such a big platform to distribute content on and such a receptive and active audience, there are fundamental issues with how Instagram works for creators.

Monetization

The first is Instagram platform monetization. The monetization tools and choices provided by Instagram are incomparably inferior to those of YouTube. The following are your Instagram.

  • Subscriptions
  • Badges
  • Affiliate
  • Bonuses

On the other side, Google’s main rival to Instagram Reels, YouTube, provides creators with income through long-form video ads, and the company is even bringing ad-revenue to YouTube Shorts in 2023 (source).

The amusing aspect is that Instagram’s Reels page also has ads, but creators aren’t given a share of the money. Despite this, Instagram does offer a “Reels Play Extra programme” (learn more) that pays creators depending on the numbers of views their Reels receive. However, this feature is only available to invitees, and you must manually select the Reels you want to count toward the bonus payout.

Given that you may choose which Reels to include in the bonus and that these Reels must adhere by certain criteria, including copyright laws, it almost appears OK to post copied content as you can simply opt not to include it in payments. Strange, isn’t it?

In fact, Adam Mosseri of Instagram apparently told team members similar things in a letter that leaked last week, so it’s not just us.

Infringements on Copyright

Having your content inevitably copied and reposted by other accounts is another thing of being a creator. Even though many people might view this as simply “natural,” it violates copyright.

Instagram simply isn’t as beneficial for creators in this place as a platform like YouTube, which is still another area.

Since many of our reader’s may not be familiar with how YouTube and Instagram handle copyright infringement on their platforms, allow me to briefly explain why Instagram lags behind YouTube in terms of preventing the misuse of a creator’s work.

The Way That YouTube Handles Copyright Issues

When it comes to copyright disputes and infringement, YouTube is very proactive. Anyone who has made a significant number of videos on the platform is aware of the company’s strong policy against exploiting copyrighted content, including music, clips, and other creators’ videos.

When someone copies our videos on YouTube, the platform automatically alerts us to the situation and typically takes action to copy the offending content. That’s fantastic.

The way Instagram handles (or doesn’t handle) copyright issues

But Instagram is a very other story.

Our Reels have continuously received over 30 million monthly people over the past few months. That is undoubtedly a sizable audience. That means, however, that there is a strong incentive for others to copy our content in order to increase their own visibility.

Countless Instagram accounts, some of which are fairly well-known accounts, have grabbed and reposted many of our Reels and posts. In these cases, Instagram places the burden of finding and reporting such infringements on the creator.

That means that before we can do anything, we must spend hours looking for content that has been copied from our account. When we do find across such content, we must go to a specific website to report such infringements. Next, we must copy the links to all of these copied posts and reels and include links to our own original content in the report so that Instagram can investigate and delete any content that is infringing on copyright.

Naturally, this requires a lot more work from us, but, to a certain extent, it would still be acceptable provided the system operated correctly.

The Issue

We’ve had countless of our Reels taken and reposted by other accounts, as I already mentioned. As an result, throughout the years we have submitted countless copyright reports. One thing of the system that sticks out is that, when it functions simply, there is no way out; nevertheless, when it malfunctions, there is no way out at all.

Instagram handles copyright complaints automatically; as a result, if they discover an infringer, the content is removed and we get an automated response. However, if they find—for whatever reason—that the content doesn’t appear to have been copied, we simply receive an automated message informing us that Instagram has left the content up because it was unable to confirm whether the posts or Reels had in fact been copied directly from us.

Manual Inspection

When we would get such an email, up until a few months ago, we could reply to it and receive a manual check. An Instagram employee in such a case would manually compare the copied post/Reel and our original content and would undoubtedly recognise that it is the same post or video. The offending content would then be removed from Instagram after they had taken the necessary actions.

This, however, appears to have ceased working recently. We filed copyright reports against an account as recently as last week, and every time we requested manual verification, we received the same automated response.

This is incredibly irritating and occasionally infuriating. And it also helps in a smooth transition to the following issue.

No Point of Contact

As you can see, platforms ought to provide a point of contact for creators who require assistance. In fact, YouTube does this. A creator on YouTube receives an account manager who serves as their point of contact in the platform of issues if they reach a certain number of subscribers.

This privilege is available, even if it only becomes available once you get some notoriety on YouTube. Although I’m unsure of the specific qualifications, we have a dedicated YouTube manager and 2.36 million subscribers on our channel.

We can call, email, or arrange a video conference with our account manager to discuss any issues we may be having with anything on YouTube. Large creators on YouTube have access to a tonne of support options.

In contrast, Instagram lacks such a thing. At least not for us. We have more than 1.3 million Instagram followers, a sizable following that consumes our content there, and yes, we were listed at #9 on Forbes’ list of India’s Top 100 Digital Stars.

Instagram

It is therefore plausible to suppose that Instagram doesn’t simply have any specialised account administrators like YouTube does, which makes it difficult to reach for assistance in cases where automated systems aren’t performing as expected.

We recently encountered an issue with Instagram Reels, and we made an effort to reach Instagram to ask about it. However, we were unable to. Simply said, the Instagram app doesn’t have any mechanisms in place to assist creators, much alone normal users.

Instagram doesn’t appear to be concerned with creators.

In the case of more significant problems, it is also potentially a very serious hazard. Hackers are continuously posing a threat to creator accounts. Bad actors have a strong motivation to attempt to get illegal access to an Instagram account with a high user base in the millions.

What should a creator do if their account is hacked, and who should they reach?

The specialised account manager for YouTube is a fantastic point to contact for assistance in this case. However, Instagram means such a feature, so creators are limited to using the usual Instagram assistance form in the case of a hijacked account or another similar issue.

Which again helps me to move on to the following issue.

Email Support Issues

At least none that I could find indicated that Instagram had a support email address. But that’s about it. There is an Help Center where you can find FAQs and contact forms for issues like lost phone numbers, hacked accounts, and more.

Imagine that coming from a platform that is purportedly making significant efforts to compete with websites like TikTok and YouTube (and now, possibly, even Twitter).

Instagram

I do not excuse YouTube or other platforms from their flaws. However, Instagram appears to be weak in the fundamentals for creators as well.

Instagram must make itself for creators.

Copyright infringement is a major issue on practically every platform. But at least rivals like YouTube seem to be making an effort to address the issue. Instagram once again lacks a user support system, and more critically, one that consistently users. The same goes for a focused support system or point of contact for creators. Forget about monetization; it seems like you as creators have to go through a lot of hoops just to get your problems heard and resolved.

The biggest chance for Instagram to draw all the creators of short-form video content on its platform was created when TikTok was outlawed in India, and Reels has excelled at doing that. However, the company must address the numerous and, to be very blunt, grave problems with creator support.

If you’re an Instagram creator and you’ve experienced similar issues, feel free to share your story here. Even if you haven’t encountered these issues, tell us about your experience using Instagram as a creator.

 

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