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By Renaming Instagram, Facebook Is Making a Mistake

By Renaming Instagram, Facebook Is Making a Mistake

In a move that makes you want to check the calendar, it’s reported that Facebook is about to change the name of Instagram to “Instagram From Facebook.” Why is Facebook suddenly so keen to remind users of the app who is in control, and is it a mistake?

The news was revealed a few days ago by The Information, who learned that employees of the social network had been briefed of the move. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the forthcoming change, explaining that the company wants to be “clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook.”

As noted by The Information, both Instagram and WhatsApp (soon to be “WhatsApp from Facebook”) have enjoyed a large degree of autonomy from their blue overlords, but both founders have departed in the last year. Furthermore, Zuckerberg is thought to be frustrated that Facebook is not consistently regarded as the cuddly provider of these two popular services and wants to remind users where to direct their love.

The move is also thought to be part of a broader plan to bring together Facebook’s various messaging platforms: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct.

Does Facebook genuinely need to remind users of Instagram that the app is actually owned and controlled by a soulless, trillion-dollar, global behemoth that’s lurching from crisis to crisis? Last month, it was fined a paltry $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission — a sum that was so low that Facebook’s shares spiked following the news — for permitting various privacy violations.

In the UK, concerns are growing about the vast sums of money being spent on political propaganda with those funding campaigns able to remain anonymous. Mental health is also a problem for the social media giant, with ever-mounting numbers of studies suggesting that young people are increasingly at risk. Mainly thanks to the different nature of the platform, Instagram has managed to avoid much of the negativity surrounding fake news and privacy problems.

Facebook Is Not Where the Cool Kids Hang Out

In their infancies, Facebook and Instagram were new and exciting. Now that they are both global giants, the sheen has worn off and Facebook, despite its continued growth, is not where the cool kids hang out anymore. Instagram might be owned by Facebook, but it still carries far more credibility. Perhaps Zuckerberg wants to make Facebook regain some of its kudos by borrowing some from Instagram. More likely, however, it risks further undermining Instagram’s remaining X-factor by shoving Facebook’s name under users’ noses.

At a time when Facebook’s reputation is increasingly tarnished, you have to wonder why it wants to risk scuppering those other brands under its command that so far have, to a degree, kept their reputations relatively clean. Personally, while I was disappointed when Instagram sold out, there was a certain amount of inevitability about it. Now, at a time when Facebook’s influence on global society feels far too strong, I don’t need further reminders of why I should despise Instagram more than I already do. 

Of course, I could just uninstall it, but I’m not alone here. Like many users I speak to, there are parts of it that I enjoy, despite the deep-seated hatred. For many photographers, it’s a great way to showcase work and connect with an audience. I continue to post, even if my engagement has fallen off a cliff thanks to a lack of consistency and a reluctance to spend upwards of half an hour a day scrolling, liking, and interacting.

The love/hate attitude is a contradiction, but one that endures. It intrigues me as to how Instagram is almost universally despised and yet continues to be so incredibly successful. Does anyone out there consistently enjoy posting? A quick poll:

Instagram walks a tightrope. We love it and hate it, perhaps in equal measure. Sooner or later, it might make a change that tips that balance to the extent that users begin to look elsewhere. Adding “From Facebook” might not be it, but it does feel like a step in that direction, although I do wonder if Instagram has now become so big that its status is beyond threat. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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I think adding "from Facebook" will just help users understand why they're accounts are getting disabled for no reason. I tried to start an Instagram earlier this year and the VERY FIRST time I tried to login my account was "disabled for violating TOS". I had literally just made it and never even got in to try posting anything and had never had an account before.

Recently I tried creating my first Facebook page in the hopes of that making a new attempt at Instagram more successful and my new Facebook account got disabled in the first hour. I literally never posted anything on it and was in the process of setting up a page for my business when it happened. I'm currently waiting for an indefinite period of time on them to verify my driver's license to prove I'm not impersonating myself. Their "algorithms" are out of control.

I'd give up on them completely if not for the fact that the first question out of anyone's mouth when your're shooting street photography or marketing yourself is "what's your Instagram?".

Same here. And it happened twice to me. And i unable revived the both accounts.

It's your vaguely sexual sounding surname Matthew. It 'triggered' their algorithm.

Only vaguely?! ;)

I don't really care at all. What I do care about is the pain in the rear interface choice that forces you to use a phone to upload or to emulate one on a perfectly capable computer.

Also the name is a lot better than the Marriott, Bonvoy change IMO.

Try Flume, I’ve downloaded the pro version and it’s awesome. I can even integrate it into a process recipe in Capture One so it opens ready to upload when I export the image.

I definitely will and am a C1 user as well so double bonus. Thanks!

Yeah man it’s really good, cost me about £14 I think and it’s changed my whole experience. From loading files into iCloud or Dropbox then exporting to just hitting process it’s so much easier.

I’ve set up a profile with a 2000px wide image that’s ideal for social media then set it to open Flume when it processes.

The other nifty thing is it saves your hashtags in groups so if you say create a group for a location you are at when you hit the hashtag on your keyboard it shows the 3 previous groups you used, so you can just load them in one go.

Not available at Apple App Store ???

you can get it direct from their website. here is the link.


you can then upgrade to pro and pay with paypal.

Yes, everyone will flee to the competition and IG will fail.

What is the competition?


With whom does Instagram "carry more credibility?" I think you're projecting a fantasy onto a soulless brand that is basically full of fake people, leading fake lives and thinking they have influence. The only thing less credible than Instagram is a Vox "journalist"'s Twitter feed.

"[Facebook] is not where the cool kids hang out anymore." Really? I legit would love to know the process of choosing/hiring writers on this site.

That's actually pretty true. Most 'kids' don't have Facebook accounts at all. They see it as a place for their parent's generation.

Yes, correct. Politics and general hate are the reason a lot in the UK stay away from FB too.

Zuck wants ALL the photo cred.

Just a tool to influence sheep:-)

IG was a place to find models, designers and studios I could connect with and work with locally here in Miami. Additionally it was helpful if I'm traveling and looking to find models in Latam by searching and using relevant hashtags. But that was ions ago. No one sees my posts and vice versa. Accounts I used to enjoy have all but disappeared from my feed. Every 5th post is sponsored. It's reached the breaking point. It's no fun. It's not social. It's actually quite depressing. I've been logged out of IG for the last 4 days. The longest stretch ever. And much like with Facebook, I am missing it less and less. Zuckerberg rains on everything he touches.

Just a thought. What if someone with real influence pushed back. Say like a Creative Blackout Tuesday. Where photographers et al posted a simple black box in their feed as a protest to algorithims, loss of chronological feed, complete disregard for the user base, etc, etc. as a reminder that IG would be a very dark place without us. Squishy I know, but still.... lol

I'm game!! How do we get the word out?

And then the PR people at IG would come out with the "we're listening, we'll do better" crap. Everyone would go back to using IG as normal and nothing would change.

You need people making permanent or at least semi-permanent change like deleting their account, logging out for days or weeks at a time completely, or using a competitor (of which there really is none). Small protests are an annoyance to these companies, so unless you are hitting them where they hurt you needn't bother.

I worked in branding in New York for 24 years, and this is a huge mistake. "Facebook" is a huge negative at this point in time. 10 years ago it would have been fine, but not now.

I think selling to Facebook in the first place was the mistake and once the founders split because Zuckerberg broke his promise not to combine the sites, you knew it was going straight to hell. Now planning to hide likes which is how they hooked people into being on their crappy sites, maybe someone else can come along that they can't rip off or buy out.

I have slightly more important things in my life than to worry about an app, that's had a name change.
Don't like it, walk away? It's not rocket science.
The general public aren't going to give.a shake, they probably won't even notice. Sure, another platform will pop up in time, that will become too big for it's boots and Arsebook or Google or Apple or whoever, will buy it, milk it and ruin it. Then we'll all moan and move on. Again.

They should probably be rebranding Facebook!

I think it's because the cracks are on the wall with their brand and main platform. There's a generational shift and Facebook proper is losing users as well not attracting as much as say Instigram and it's competitor's, heck even Twitter actually grew recently which shocked many. Facebook just doesn't have the staying power that one might think it does and for that they're also trying to make the name more pronounced with its supposed products, hoping that if you use one, then you'll probably try the others. Facebook ain't no Google... They have no free apps like them to data mine and promote mindshare of their namesake outside of Facebook which has been showing signs of slowing down, which scares its investors. Hvve they even turned a profit yet or they're value is still speculation?

It might be a good thing in two ways...

First, we will all start to remember that we are whoring ourselves to Facebook by using it, and second someone might get smart and see an opportunity to start a new app/service to replace it for all of us being reminded that we are whoring ourselves out to Facebook.

Anyone notice how ads have become unbearable? There's been a marked step-up in advertising that will push us over the edge.....IF there was an alternative.

There's no one Instagram. It's all what you, personally, make of it. It requires effort to build "your" Instagram, but it's pretty simple: you follow photographers you like, and unfollow if you start not liking them. How could anyone hate that? But if you do, I really think you have nobody to blame but yourself. As for me, I follow mostly film photographers, and I can't imagine a better way to conveniently see their new work and what they're up to.