Thoughts on Instagram filter accounts
If you have spent any time in the Explore tab, you must have come across at least one Instagram filter accounts. These accounts with names like ‘Gottolovethis’, ‘eclecticshotz’, etc. do not post their own content but rather share photos taken by other photographers. I follow couple such accounts; mostly pertaining to Westies but I’ve always felt uneasy about it. First, these accounts do not always take permission from the original photographers and although they credit the photographers sometimes, it’s intended as a favor to the original account.
Now I’ve previously operated a filter blog account but I’ve never linked to their entire post on my filter blog. I’ve always linked to an excerpt and urged readers to click through to read the post in full on the author’s blog. But in terms of photos and especially on Instagram, once you’ve shared the photo, there’s nothing else left to see on the original photographer’s page. Some people may dig through the caption and muck around the thousand hashtags and locate the original and end up following that person. But I’m sure 99% don’t. They ‘like’ or share the photo on the filter account and move on.
The assumption of a typical filter account (that I follow) is - if we give you credit instead of seeking permission first, we’ve done our due diligence and owe no apology. But copyright doesn’t work that way. Unless it falls under fair use, you must always seek permission first. But that requires work and takes time. On top of that, the vast majority may not even realize their photo has been co-opted and if they do, they do not bother to confront the filter account. Even if they do, the filter account can feign ignorance and even apologize, if they are halfway decent. If not, nearly 95% of their content still goes undetected by the original.
The filter account gains all the followers and so-called influencer cred which I’m told leads to thousands of advertising dollars. Even if it’s not about the money, it’s harvesting influence and validation that’s owed to someone else.
I try to avoid such filter accounts as much as possible and like to focus on individual accounts who do the traveling or the hard work of taking and sharing their own photos. I’ve found quite a few through the Explore tab without seeing them first at the filter accounts. But I can see the convenience that these accounts offer to the casual Instagram user. But it doesn’t feel right to me.