Updated in a follow-up post: click here.
Since Facebook bought Instagram, it’s been getting buggier, of course.
I’ve complained about Instagram uploading a series of posts in a totally different order to what I had (which, on ANZAC Day, made it difficult for anyone to follow the story I was trying to tell on my account when the order is 2, 1, 5, 4, 3, 6, 7).
Video (2) was an interesting one, because Instagram allowed me to post something that was 2 minutes, 6 seconds long, which it had never done before (or since).
I thought it odd at the time but given that it was twice as long as normal, I didn’t complain. It allowed me to show more of the Air Force band performing ‘Au e ihu’ (Soldier’s Hymn).
I did complain about one particular video featuring our national anthem which Instagram would say was loading, then on checking again, it would vanish. I made three attempts over a two-hour period before it “stuck” (video no. 3 in the sequence above). I had to wonder if Instagram was picking up the music and flagging it as a copyright violation: after all, YouTube flags static as copyright violations (hat tip to Retrorechercher).
This morning, on checking the stats, I noticed that no one had viewed the longer video, and, after asking some friends on Twitter, learned that Instagram blocked anyone from seeing it. It’s like shadow-banning on Twitter: you can see your own stuff, but no one else can. Try it for yourself—here’s the link Instagram claims it’s at.
I can still play it straight from Instagram on the web and on my phone.
You can give the MP4 a shot here (and note the URL, which is an Instagram one, and the duration). The thumbnail is here.
However, I can’t embed the video the normal way, and any link that it lets me share results in a 404. It all feels very familiar, because this is the sort of bug that Facebook used to cook up, e.g. on days when you couldn’t post, like, comment or share, or tag yourself in a photograph.
I might save the two-minute-long video separately in case there’s a way you can tell that it was edited inside Instagram.
To sum up: Instagram will not load content in the same order you do (we already know this); it will permit much longer videos that exceed one minute, but if they let it through, no one will ever see it except you.
We also know that Facebook will pump through any advertising on to Instagram, even in categories you have expressly asked not to be shown.
There you have it, Instagram in 2018.
PS., April 25, 1.19 a.m. GMT: I’ve just tried a 2 minute 50 second video, and it appears it is visible. For how long, I don’t know. Check it out here, or, if the embed’s visible below, have a look.
P.PS., 1.59 a.m. GMT: Looks like four minutes is fine, too. While the first one is still invisible, it does appear Instagram has lifted the one-minute limit, and that’s not something I can find documented anywhere. Still, I’m grateful, because it makes far more sense to show two- to four-minute vids.