Does Instagram Notify the Other Person if You Take a Screenshot of a DM?

Posted by Arch on November 1, 2018

The way we talk to each other online is constantly evolving.

Do you remember that old internet maxim? “What you put on the Internet stays there forever.”

We’ve come a long way from obscuring all our identifying information when we post online. But even in this new world of transparency and unceasing interaction, we tend to assume that the above statement is true.

When we send personal messages, photos or videos, there is a chance that the person on the other end will keep them. Many people try to be more careful in online conversations than in offline ones.

But some social media platforms want to change this. You may have noticed a push toward temporary messaging options. There is a growing demand for messages that self-delete soon after they arrive.

If you’re on Instagram, what can you expect when it comes to personal messaging privacy? Can the person you’re talking to keep a screenshot of your interactions?

Screenshots and Direct Messaging on Instagram

Instagram users can send each other text messages, photos or videos using the DM function.

First, it’s important to point out that there are two different kinds of direct messaging on Instagram.

Permanent (or regular or traditional) DMs stay in your recipient’s inbox forever, unless you choose to delete them. To send one of these DMs, you should use the text box or the icons on the right.

But there are disappearing DMs as well. To send these, tap on the blue camera on the left. A disappearing DM can only be viewed once or twice, it’s up to you to set the specifics.

Disappearing DMs can be photos or videos. Additionally, you can send text messages in the form of a video message with a vivid background.

Now, what do you need to know about DMs and screenshots?

You Don’t Get Notified If Someone Screenshots Your Permanent DM

Your recipient can screenshot your messages. Instagram doesn’t inform you if that happened. If your message is in text form, they can also copy it to their clipboard.

It’s important to mention that you can choose to Unsend your DMs at any point. But if your recipient has already made a screenshot, the damage is done. To Unsend a message, tap on it and then select the Unsend option.

But You Do Get Notified If Someone Screenshots Your Disappearing DM

You can Unsend these messages as well. When your recipient views your disappearing DM, there will be an eye icon beside the message. But what about screenshots?

Screenshotting these DMs is slightly more difficult than usual. If your recipient prefers to take screenshots by swiping down, they might exit the DM instead of closing it. But with some practice, it’s possible to screenshot a disappearing DM, using any method.

When your recipient does this, you will receive a notification. Look for a circular icon next to the DM you sent.

In this image, the recipient viewed both disappearing DMs, but only took a screenshot of the second one:

If you tap on this notification, you can Unsend your DM. But you can also view its Details.

If you select Details, you’ll find out when the screenshot was taken. You’ll also see who took it, which is useful in a group conversation.

Instagram Also Sends Notifications If Someone Screenshots Your Story

Like the disappearing DMs, Instagram stories are designed to be temporary.

When the story function first appeared, anyone was free to screenshot your stories without you knowing about it. But in early 2018, Instagram changed this. At the moment, you do receive a notification if someone takes a screenshot of your story.

Are Screenshot Notifications Useful?

What are the pros and cons of sending out notifications when someone takes a screenshot of your conversation?

Since screenshotting is a stock function that comes with every smartphone, Instagram can’t block it altogether. But notifications make it awkward to create screenshots of a temporary message or a story.

It’s obvious that this function has its upsides. It gives you more control over your own messages.

The people you speak to don’t get the chance to collect conversations you’d rather forget. Disappearing DMs can’t be brought back later. So when you use this function, you’ll know exactly what’s going on with your messages.

On the other hand, the notification means you have to be more careful too. Even if you have good intentions, taking a screenshot can lead to an uncomfortable situation. It’s also more difficult to document harassment this way.

A Quick Overview

Let’s summarize.

Instagram doesn’t notify if you take a screenshot of a permanent DM. These DMs are the ones you send in the form of text, or by uploading an image or video.

However, Instagram does notify if you screenshot a disappearing DM. To send a disappearing DM, tap the blue camera on the left-hand side of the message box.

A Final Word

There are many different approaches to communication via direct messaging.

Some people choose their words with care. They avoid saying anything that could be used against them. For example, they never complain about their workplace or their personal life, because those statements could be incriminating if they were taken out of context.

Others prefer to trust the discretion of the person they’re messaging. This usually works out, but unpleasant surprises are still too common.

Having your personal messages made public is always a harrowing experience. But it’s even worse when the messages you sent were in the form of an image or video. Even if you avoid sending anything particularly sensitive, it’s very unpleasant to see your recordings used without your permission.

Compared to Instagram, Snapchat still gives you more detailed information about how others interact with your content. But Instagram is constantly adding new features. In the future, you might also receive notifications when people screenshot your regular DMs.

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