Thanks, I Hate It: Instagram Turns 10

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Every day, I open up my phone and stare at photos from the lives of people I hardly know until I start to feel bad about myself. That’s because I use Instagram, the highly addictive photo-sharing app founded 10 years ago today.

Facebook gets a lot of flack for propagating disinformation and collecting highly personal information about its users. But Instagram, which Facebook owns, is the same beast in a different disguise. The Instagram algorithm feeds me stories and posts from the users whose accounts I interact with most often; when I hate-stalk college acquaintances who live in mansions or flout social distancing guidelines, the app remembers, and provides me with the content I loathe. It knows my location and my browser history and hits me with targeted ads that are eerily close to things I might actually want to buy. And I, along with everyone else I know, submit to all of this because otherwise I might miss out on a really good meme.

It will be interesting to see how social media winds up affecting this election. I think one of the ways Instagram manages to retain its good graces is that it seems to be less a cesspool of mis- and disinformation than a resource for socially conscious young people to engage with activism—even if only superficially. I see countless reminders to register to vote on people’s Instagram stories every day. The question is whether it’ll make a difference.

Enjoy the rest of your afternoon. And follow Mother Jones on Instagram while you’re at it.

This post was brought to you by the Mother Jones Daily newsletter, which hits inboxes every weekday and is written by Ben Dreyfuss and Abigail Weinberg, and regularly features guest contributions by our much smarter colleagues. Sign up for it here.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate