For 100,000 people, getting some virtual love on Instagram was such a draw that they fell for a scam application called InstLike, which promised Likes and new followers if they gave out their login details and forked over some money.
Mashable reports, "After users signed up for the free app, InstLike would begin Liking random photos and following random users. It also asked users to buy virtual coins to accrue more Likes and followers."
Sadly, many people really were desperate for some Insta-love, even if they had to pay for it. Security firm Symantec told the tech website that the app was downloaded between 100,000 and 500,000 times on Android alone and a similar number for iOS. The scam app was one of the top apps on the App Store for most of October.
As Digital Trends writes, "the reason [Instlike] had so many positive reviews is that the app gives you 100 free coins if you rate it in the App Store." This is of course against Instagram's terms of service and has been removed from the Apple Store and Google Play.
"It's just very interesting to see what length people will go to in order to get Likes in their photos," Satnam Narang, the security researcher at Symantec told Mashable.
While automated Liking and following doesn't really hurt anyone, it speaks volumes about our unfortunate digital reality. Our social networks and this desperation for more Followers, Likes and Retweets is ironically making us more lonely, as Shimi Cohen illustrates in his sobering video.
The video shows us how we are actually presenting a false image of ourselves when we edit, crop, and filter. We are no longer having genuine conversations in real time, and many of us are actually feeling lonely even if one has the connectivity of 500 "Friends."
To ease users into the new look, Instagram provided a first glance at what paid posts will look like. Much like Twitter's sponsored tweets, these ads will look like normal Instagram posts, except that they will appear without you having followed the account posting it, clearly labeled as 'sponsored.'
Instagrammers can expect to see these ads start to pop up in the next week, having first been warned of the addition three weeks prior.
With careful dedication to pleasing its users, the option to hide ads and/or give feedback is available per post in the bottom right corner.
With extreme cautiousness and crafting attractive ads, Instagram is committed to making the advertisements as painless and viewer-friendly as possible. Choosing names of users who already have great Instagram followings, such as Levi's, General Electric, Paypal, and Ben & Jerry's, the ads will be aligned with the artful brand of Instagram.
Perhaps these ads will be the first that social media takes a liking to, seeing as they will be less disruptive and more tailored to the audience's taste.
With high-quality, original photos that blend into your Instagram feed, you might not even notice that ads are actually ads, and double-click the image you see voluntarily.
With data from both Instagram and Facebook, the service is all set to share images that are sure to please you and your friends based on your likes and interests.
Although Instagram is accessible for anyone of age 13 and up, the ads will only be implemented on accounts of those who are 18 and older.
What do you think of Instagram's advertising strategy? Are you impressed?
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Is Instagram Spoiling Your Appetite?
All those pictures of your friend's artisan lunch or dinner might be making you jealous.
The day has finally come. You can officially tell that person on your Instagram feed to cut it out. A new study suggests Instagram pictures of food are officially ruining the enjoyment of eating.
Pump your breaks before capturing the moment before you devour that steak. You’re not only ruining your meal, but stopping your friend from eating in order to snap a picture is ruining their meal as well.
The study gathered two groups to look at and then rate pictures of sweet foods and salty foods. Afterwards, each group was offered a snack similar to the foods they saw in the pictures. Those who had looked at pictures of salty foods didn’t seem to enjoy their snacks.
The results suggest something strange about the brain. Without eating the food, your brain interprets that you may have and engages in “sensory boredom.” In other words, without having eaten the food, you’ve already gone through the taste experience – you just don’t care for it.
With 150 million people checking into their Instagram accounts at least once a month, it would be silly for the free service to not implement advertising.
The favored photo app just turned three years old, which for a tech startup, is exemplary.
At this point, it is time to up the monetary value, and one magic word makes users everywhere cringe a bit similar to Twitter's recent endeavors: Advertising.
Ads are going to start implement...
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Short Hair, Don't Care: Beyonce Does the Big Chop
The diva debuted her new pixie haircut on Instagram.
Beyonce did away with her signature blonde locks for a cropped pixie cut that's perfect for the summer. Photo Credit: Instagram.com/beyonce
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Get ready to see women lining up at the beauty salon in 5...4...3...2...
Whether it's through her music or through her personal style, Beyonce always finds a way to reinvent herself, but the singer's latest look is by far her boldest look to date.
Mrs. Carter took to Instagram to debut her new blonde pixie haircut, and we have to give her props for making such a big change. The new cut, which Beyonce can be seen admiring in a series of photographs, will no doubt inspire a new wave of women to try the super short style. Wonder if this has anything to do with her getting her tresses caught in the fan while performing "Halo" a few weeks ago...
Take a look at Beyonce's selfies of her new 'do above, and tell us:
Mayfair, Rise, Lo-Fi and Earlybird are among my favorite Instagram filters. I’m sure you have your own go-to photo editor shortcut too.
Sometimes though, a picture just looks better without a filter. In that case, you best bet I’m tagging #nofilter. But have you ever spotted a #nofilter post that looked edited? Well now, you no longer have to guess.
Introducing Filter Fakers, a website that helps you find out if your friends are claiming #nofilter on edits photos.
“#Nofilter is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram. Using it is a way of telling people that you haven’t used any of Instagram’s built in filters to enhance the photo. But with over 40 million photos uploaded on Instagram daily, there are obviously quite a few cheaters out there," as state on Filter Fakers website. "People that want you to think their photos just turned out great, completely without the help of any filters. And you had to believe them until now.”
It’s fine if you go nuts with the Instagram filters, but at least be real about it.
Are you a filter faker? Tell us in the comment below.
Instagram, the Facebook owned service, has added video features to its application.
Among the new features, the new addition will allow users to upload 15-second long videos with no looping, with over a dozen custom filters to choose from, a custom thumbnail and cover photo that will appear on the news feed. It will also include a camera stabilization feature called “cinema” meant to improve a shaky motion.
The update version of Instagram is now available to download for both Apple and Android users.
How do you think the new features will compete with Vine? Tell us in the comments below.
It’s official, teens are over Facebook and in fact consider it a “social burden”, according to a report released by the Pew Research Center.
The Pew Center surveyed 802 teen’s on their online habits and found their enthusiasm for the social network is dwindling meanwhile concerns from the company’s investors rise in fear Facebook is losing a crucial demographic.
"While Facebook is still deeply integrated in teens’ everyday lives, it is sometimes seen as a utility and an obligation rather than an exciting new platform that teens can claim as their own," the report authors wrote.
Teens are not getting rid of their profiles or deactivating accounts, but instead are heading straight to Twitter and Instagram since both platforms are more parent-free, photo, and video friendly.
Which social media platform do you prefer? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram?
It’s been a year since Janet Mock, an outspoken writer and activist for transgender woman of color, first gave birth to #girlslikeus on Twitter, taking to the popular social networking site with the intention of building a community for women like her. The hashtag has gone from alerting people to the injustices and tragedies that often mar the lives of trans women, to a space for shouting out the good and advocating for change, both in the "outside" world and the world within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning community, or LGBTQ community.
To date, the #girlslikeus hashtag has racked up an impressive 7,000 tweets (and counting), according to Topsy.com analytics. Not satisfied with slowly conquering the Twittersphere, #girlslikeus is a hashtag to be reckoned with on the online photo-sharing giant Instagram – more than 1,000 “selfies” and candid photos have been affixed with the hashtag and shared, according to Webstagram. Mock, an editor at People.com, shared her story with Loop 21 last year after news of the disproportionate U.S. murder rate for trans women of color. The 30-year-old writer caught up with us to chat about the growth of #girlslikeus and the trans visibility movement.
Loop 21: For people who don’t know, what is #girlslikeus? How and why did you start using it on Twitter?
Janet Mock: #Girlslikeus, right now, is a [social network] hashtag, but I feel like it's almost a movement unto itself. As the girl behind #girlslikeus, it’s been an amazing thing to see it grow into its own living organism. I see it more as a collective than a hashtag.
"We may be girls with something extra or girls who have to go through a different path in life, but at the end of the day, we just consider ourselves girls"
It started from just having conversations with other young transwomen about our experiences and about how we label and identify ourselves. Most of them will say, “I just identify myself as a girl.” We may be girls with something extra or girls who have to go through a different path in life, but at the end of the day, we just consider ourselves girls. I started using [#girlslikeus on Twitter] after the Jenna Talackova [Miss Universe controversy]; after CeCe McDonald [was sentenced to a Minnesota men’s prison]; and then after Paige Clay’s death [found murdered in a Chicago alley.] I just found that there was a needed space to talk amongst ourselves about our issues. There also needed to be a space that was created by trans women. Kind of like FUBU, “For us, By us.”
Loop 21: What are some of the topics discussed within this Twitter community?
JM: Women talk about everything -- personal self-medication, because health care doesn’t really care for us in a way that meets all our needs. They're talking about coming out [as transgender] to your family or how to come out at work. I just want it to be a space where we share and swap resources. And to uplift one another! That’s what #girlslikeus is to me, at least. But I also love that it’s something else to so many other people that engage on Twitter and Instagram. Just by saying, “girls like us,” it’s sort of a wink, without having to say that we are trans women.
Loop 21: Scrolling through the hashtagged tweets, I’ve noticed it’s not all serious, heavy issues. Some tweets are just shouting out positivity in the trans community. What have you been most glad to see tweeted?
JM: Well, first, I think it’s very easy for us as oppressed people, at the margins of society, to wallow in the fact that there are a lot of systems of oppression and violence. The harder thing is to recognize that there is light out there. There is positivity. There are [transgender] women who are changing the world. [These transgender women] are active agents in our own survival. If you only hear about the horrible things, then why would you want to exist? Sharing these positive things and shouting out other women who are doing amazing work – like Jen Richards, Laverne Cox, Isis King, Reina Gossett, and Angelica Ross – is a way to build solidarity and sisterhood.
Loop 21: Has it been hard to keep other people from hashtag hijacking? I’m asking because I see one tweet referring to country pop singer Taylor Swift starting to use #girlslikeus to promote a project.
Apparently Taylor Swift was cast in a film called "Girls Like Us" which caused slutty spambots to invade #girlslikeus. **reports each acct**
JM: I just organically created the space, as anyone would create a hashtag. I wasn’t thinking that people would pick up on it. I wasn’t even thinking that the hashtag could have been used before. There’s a memoir out there called “Girls Like Us” created by a woman who deals around sex work and trafficking of young women. Taylor Swift was cast in a movie that was called “Girls Like Us,” so now it’s becoming #girlslikeus. I think that’s going to become an issue as that movie gains more visibility. We’re going to have to share this space. Maybe we’ll be doing “#glus,” so that we’re still keeping our authentic space.
Loop 21: You speak around the country about trans issues. Does that give you an opportunity to promote the hashtag?
JM: I think the first speech I ever gave around #girlslikeus was probably around the launch of it. This was last year when I gave a keynote address at the University of Southern California at their Lavender Celebration. I spoke about what #girlslikeus meant to me and also speaking about true diversity when we’re talking about trans issues. People think that because I’m a trans woman of color, that hashtag is only about trans women of color issues and that I can only speak about trans women of color. I created it for all trans women.
Loop 21: Are there any celebrities in or outside of the LGBTQ community who have used the hashtag?
JM: There are so many people, who are celebrities to me, within social justice and gender justice. The #girlslikeus hashtag has been nominated by the Women’s Media Center, which was created by Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda. To know that [Steinem and Fonda] have been supportive of this movement is tremendous. I know Laura Jane Grace, who is the rocker that came out as trans last year, has tweeted with #girlslikeus.
Loop 21: What other Twitter hashtags do you follow regularly?
JM: I follow [Melissa Harris Perry’s] #nerdland. I follow “queer women of color” [#qwoc]. I follow all kinds of different hashtags that help me know what resources are being shared.
Loop 21: What appears on Instagram under the hashtag?
JM: It’s almost like a different audience. It’s mostly just images of trans women hanging out with each other or just showing that solidarity. "Selfies." Going out partying. But it’s also about visibility. Most people say, “I don’t know a trans person.” You can now go on Instagram and see that there are trans women actively living and thriving in the world. They are happy. They are engaged. I think that’s a powerful tool of visibility. You’re showing that you’re a trans woman and that you’re unapologetic about being a trans woman. And that’s especially important in a world that tells us that we shouldn’t exist. (Picture: Janet Mock in an Instagram photo sent by @benleenyc)
Loop 21: What do you hope to see for this hashtag? Do you see a collection of the tweets in book form?
JM: I’ve been doing a lot of research on what is needed. Just like I’ve created this small online space, it’s a virtual space, but it’s still real. I also want to have a real lived space. I think about what Black Girls Rock has done. It started off as a T-shirt. And then from a T-shirt they went to an event. So it became an empowerment tool for young black girls to show their image. I want the same thing for young trans women. Within the next year, I have thoughts of starting off with a T-shirt, and hopefully raising money so we can have a real lived space in New York City.
Janet Mock plans to detail her life story about becoming a transgender woman of color in a memoir titled "Fish Food." It is scheduled for release April 2014 by publisher Simon & Schuster. Click here for more info.
Instagram is no longer just a mobile phone application now that it has introduced a web experience for its 90 million monthly active users. Users of the service are able to access and view photos but not upload; that piece of the pie remains mobile-only. The Facebook owned property launched the website Tuesday when Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom announced it in a blog post.
Systrom said while Instagram was focused on helping people see and take photos on-the-go before, now the goal is to provide members with access on different devices. The business implications? This is the direction to go if Facebook is looking to integrate Instagram better, particularly when it comes to web browsing and creating another entry point for user activity when they browse the web. The move could also have to do with Facebook’s new search engine, geared towards pulling content (whether images, profiles, likes, preferences) based off of a users’ request. (CNET)
Polaroid is planning to launch stores where people can print digital photos from the ones stored on their phones. Customers will be able to enter the Fotobar, select the desired photos (whether they be on Facebook, Instagram, Picasa or other platforms), then wirelessly beam them to one of the workstations. They can then choose for the pics to printed on standard paper, metal, acrylic, wood, bamboo and canvas. The final photos will be handcrafted and shipped to customers worldwide in "just a few days," according to a release. The first Fotobar, set to open this February, will be located in Delray Beach, Fla.; store openings in New York, Las Vegas and Boston will follow. In total, Polaroid plans to open "at least ten" Fotobars in 2013. (Mashable)
BLUE IVY DEBUTS Eight weeks after giving birth, Beyonce gave impatiently waiting fans their first glimpse at Roc royalty by posting pics on husband Jay-Z's Life+Times site, and creating a Tumblr page for Ivy all her own: HelloBlueIvyCarter.tumblr.com.
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Now that social media is here to stay, no engagement (or divorce), pregnancy (or even pillow talk) can go unreported -- especially when you're a celeb (and therefore, attention-seeking by nature).
Above are some of the top moments they shared with us this year.
Six years after being created, Twitter is still increasing its users—reaching 200 million active users. This is double what the online social networking service reported last year and 60 million more than its March milestone. According to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, the company is also reporting 400 million tweets per day.
Even though the rate of growth may have slightly declined over time, Twitter is still packing a punch by adding 60 million new monthly active users in a nine-month period. Facebook, on the other hand touts 1 billion monthly active users while Instagram has reached more than 100 million registered users. A large contributor to this accomplishment, many are saying, is retweeting—with President Barack Obama and Justin Bieber both sending out a tweet that was then retweeted more than 223,000 times. (TechCrunch)
Twitter has introduced its own photo-filter service, escalating its feud with other social media services. On Monday, Twitter allowed users the ability to add color filters to their uploaded photos, an option that greatly mimics that of Instagram, the booming photo service Facebook acquired earlier this year for $715 million. The new release came days after Instagram unexpectedly said it would no longer allow Twitter users' posts to display images taken and edited with their service. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said it a move made to drive visitors to their own website. Twitter's photo feature is now powered by Aviary, a New York-based company that develops image-editing software for photo-sharing platforms like Flickr. (Reuters)
Did you post a picture of your Thanksgiving meal to Instagram last week? Chances are you contributed to the social network’s busiest day in it’s two year history. Users posted more than 10 million holiday- and food-related photos on Nov. 22, according to the Instagram blog. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., photos were uploaded at a rate of more than 200 per second. Instagram and food were a match made in heaven, long before its record-breaking Turkey Day. More than 19 million of the site’s photos include the hashtag #food. Instagram’s user base has more than doubled since Facebook moved to acquire it last April. (Washington Post)
The company was purchased recently by Facebook for $1 billion and announced the move to the web on Monday.
Prior to the big announcement, Instagram users' profiles existed only on mobile applications. Now, users will have a website with a profile photo, bio and a collection of the pics they've recently shared on Instagram.