Looking to get into Instagram Reels, but not sure what to post?
This could help – over the last week, Instagram has been giving more users access to its Reels ‘Templates’ option, which enables you to create Reels based on popular content formats in the app.
As you can see in this example, shared by user Ahmed Ghanem, some people are now seeing the new ‘Templates’ option within the Reels camera, which enables you to select a format for your Reel based on popular trends.
Instagram initially launched its Templates option back in April, which takes users through a frame-by-frame process to create a similar-looking Reels clip.
So if you lack creativity, now Instagram will do the creative framing for you, which could be handy, as a means to create more engaging clips.
But it could also make a lot more of your Reels feed look familiar, due to replication of the same types of clips over and over again, while it also leans on the talents of trendsetters within the app. Which TikTok has come under scrutiny for in the past, and it’ll be interesting to see whether creators start to question the re-use of their formats in this way.
But if you do need help, maybe it’ll come in handy – and that’s not the only way that IG is looking to lend a guiding hand in the Reels creation process.
According to another discovery by Ghanem, Instagram will also now recommend songs for your content, based on your upload.
How, exactly, Instagram recommends different songs for different clips is not clear, but based on these tools, you could essentially extricate yourself of almost all your creative content decisions – you just come up with what you want to film and Instagram’s recommendation tools and templates will do the rest.
Which seems to run counter to the whole ethos of the short-form video trend, which enables users to contribute to the latest trends and memes with their own, simple, creative takes. Indeed, what people like most about short-form content is that it provides more avenues for creativity, which makes these new features feel less genuine, and less interesting, even if they do help you get a few more Likes as a result.
Which they probably will, and for brands that are short on time, and are unable to keep up with the latest formats and tracks, they could be a big help (note: business accounts are limited in terms of what songs they can use in their clips).
But I don’t know. It feels a bit artificial, doesn’t it? Like, Meta is so keen to get as many people as possible posting short-form clips that it’s taking all of your own input and personality out of the process.
Maybe I’m over-thinking it – and really, what I am thinking is that someone should create an account that only posts videos using templates and song recommendations to see what sort of engagement it gets.
It could be massive – but it also feels like another step towards killing off the short-form video trend entirely by doing it to death.
Much like Stories before it – and, ultimately, that could be another way for Meta to negate competition.
Fresh fears after Facebook’s role in US abortion case
Facebook’s role in an abortion prosecution has raised fresh worries from advocates – Copyright AFP/File Javed TANVEER
Facebook sparked outrage by complying with US police probing an abortion case, boosting simmering fears the platform will be a tool for clamping down on the procedure.
Criticism built after media reports revealed the social networking giant had turned over messages key to a mother being criminally charged with an abortion for her daughter.
Advocates had warned of exactly this kind of thing after America’s top court revoked the national right to abortion in late June, as big tech companies hold a trove of data on users locations and behavior.
Jessica Burgess, 41, was accused of helping her 17-year-old daughter to terminate a pregnancy in the midwestern US state of Nebraska.
She faces five charges — including one under a 2010 law which only allows abortion up to 20 weeks after fertilization.
The daughter faces three charges, including one of concealing or abandoning a corpse.
Yet Facebook owner Meta defended itself Tuesday by noting the Nebraska court order “didn’t mention abortion at all”, and came before the Supreme Court’s highly divisive decision in June to overturn Roe v Wade, the case which conferred right to abortion in the United States.
“That sentence would seem to imply that *if* the search warrants mentioned abortion, there would be a different result. But of course that’s not true,” tweeted Logan Koepke, who researches on how technology impacts issues like criminal justice.
When queried about handing over the data, the Silicon Valley giant pointed AFP to its policy of complying with government requests when “the law requires us to do so.”
Nebraska’s restrictions were adopted years before Roe was overturned. Some 16 states have outright bans or limits in the early weeks of pregnancy in their jurisdictions.
– ‘Can’t release encrypted chats’ –
For tech world watchers, the Nebraska case surely won’t be the last.
“This is going to keep happening to companies that have vast amounts of data about people across the country and around the world,” said Alexandra Givens, CEO of the non-profit Center for Democracy & Technology.
She went on to note that if companies receive a duly-issued legal request, under a valid law, there are strong incentives for them to want to comply with that request.
“The companies at a minimum have to make sure that they’re insisting on a full legal process, that warrants are specific and not a fishing expedition, searches are very narrowly construed and that they notify users so that users can try to push back,” Givens added.
Meta did not provide AFP the Nebraska court’s order. The police filing asked the judge to order the company not to tell Burgess’s daughter about the search warrant for her Facebook messages.
“I have reason to believe that notifying the subscriber or customer of the issuance of this search warrant may result in the destruction of or tampering with evidence,” police detective Ben McBride wrote.
He told the court he began investigating “concerns” in late April that Burgess’s daughter had given birth prematurely to a “stillborn child”, which they allegedly buried together.
Advocates noted that apart from not using Meta’s products, one sure way to keep users’ communications out of government hands would be for them to be automatically encrypted.
Meta-owned WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption, which means the company does not have access to the information, but that level of privacy protection is not the default setting on Facebook messenger.
“The company has never said it would not comply with a request from law enforcement in a situation related to abortions,” said Caitlin Seeley George, a campaign director at advocacy group Fight for the Future.
“If users could rely on encrypted messaging, Meta wouldn’t even be in a position where they could share conversations,” she added.
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