It's an age-old conundrum that dates back to, well, 2012, when Snapchat was born: How can app users stop others from screenshotting the supposed-to-be-ephemeral photos shared within the app and saving them for infinity and beyond? With the inception of Instagram Stories, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app has basically replicated Snapchat's gig, and the question of how to block screenshots on Instagram stories persists. Although Instagram offers a few privacy-control options so its users can control who views and interacts with their content, screenshotting is by no means off limits — in fact, it's even easier to do it clandestinely than it is on Snapchat's My Story feature.
Neither Snapchat nor Instagram has an apparatus in place to prevent screenshots of stories, which are supposed to remain visible for 24 hours on both apps before disappearing into oblivion. That means that if you decide to go the Snapchat-approved route and upload silly, oftentimes unflattering photos of yourself to share with friends to Instagram Stories, your frenemies or sneaky siblings can totally screenshot those and keep them forever. And unlike on Snapchat, you won't receive any notifications or alerts that someone has broken the Golden Rule of Snapchat (and, by association, of Instagram Stories, because the two apps are essentially the same thing).
The fact that Instagram Stories lacks the capability to stave off screenshots isn't a tragedy, though, in my opinion. Because, really, if you're willing to show the internet snippets from your life (whether it's your brunch or your morning jog or all the ways your kid is adorable), why wouldn't you be comfortable if people could reference them for more than 24 hours? Even though it's a social no-no to screenshot, many, many people don't play fair. Just like college professors caution students against posting anything to social that they wouldn't want potential employers to see, I abide by the Thou Shalt Not Post Stories That Aren't Fit For Screenshot.
But for users who do want to ensure that the content they unleash onto the World Wide Web reaches only approved (non-boss) users, Instagram helps to make that possible. According to the site's Help Center, setting your account to private guarantees that only approved followers can see your Instagram Story. And if there's one story you don't want someone who does follow you to see, you can exclude that person from ever even knowing it exists by following a few easy steps:
The introduction of Stories into the realm of carefully curated Instagram feeds offers a new tool for those who haven't mastered Snapchat like the #youths have, but for those who have embraced both, the reality of the threat of screenshots is still real. Be on alert, stay vigilant, and don't post anything your mom wouldn't post.