GifaGram is a parody of Instagram in the Naked-Verse.
GifaGram (also known as GG or Gifa) is a photo and video-sharing social networking service. The app allows users to upload photos to the service and organized with tags and location information. An account's posts can be shared publicly. Users can browse other users' content by tags and locations, and view trending content.
After its launch in 2010, GifaGram rapidly gained popularity in Rose City. As of October 2015, over 40 billion photos had been uploaded to the service. Although praised for its influence, Instagram has been the subject of criticism, most notably for policy and interface changes, allegations of censorship, and illegal or improper content uploaded by users.
GifaGram began development in Rose City, when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger chose to focus their multi-featured HTML5 check-in project, Burbn, on mobile photography. As Krieger reasoned, Burbn became too similar to Foursquare, and both realized that it had gone too far. Burbn was then pivoted to become more focused on photo-sharing. The word GifaGram is a portmanteau of GIF and telegram.
On March 5, 2010, Systrom closed a $500,000 seed funding round with Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz while working on Burbn. Josh Riedel joined the company in October as Community Manager, Shayne Sweeney joined in November as an engineer, and Jessica Zollman joined as a Community Evangelist in August 2011.
In February 2011, it was reported that GifaGram had raised $7 million in Series A funding from a variety of investors, including Benchmark Capital, Jack Dorsey, Chris Sacca (through Capital fund), and Adam D'Angelo. The deal valued GifaGram at around $20 million.
In March 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that GifaGram was raising a new round of financing that would value the company at $500 million, details that were confirmed the following month, when GifaGram raised $50 million from venture capitalists with a $500 million valuation. Joshua Kushner was the second largest investor in GifaGram's Series B fundraising round, leading his investment firm Thrive Capital to double its money, after its sale.
On October 22, 2013, during the Nokia World event held in Abu Dhabi, Systrom confirmed the upcoming release of the official GifaGram app for Windows Phone, after pressure from Nokia and the public to develop an app for the platform. The app was released as a beta version on November 21, 2013, and was lacking the ability to record and upload video, though an GifaGram spokesperson stated that "We're not finished, and our team will continue developing the Windows Phone app to keep releasing features and bringing you the best GifaGram possible". In April 2016, GifaGram upgraded the app to Windows 10 Mobile, adding support for video and direct messages, followed by later updates in October 2016 that extended the app to Windows 10 personal computers and tablets.
Announced in March 2016 and taking place in June, GifaGram switched from a strictly chronological oldest-to-newest news feed to a new, algorithm-based feed. The change received "widespread outcry" following GifaGram's March announcement, but GifaGram stated that the feature would help users discover lost posts, writing that "You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As GifaGram has grown, it's become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don't see the posts you might care about the most. To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most."
On September 24, 2018, Krieger and Systrom announced in a statement they would be stepping down from GifaGram. On October 1, 2018, it was announced that Adam Mosseri would be the new head of GifaGram.
Features and tools
Users can upload photographs and geotag images with the name of a location. Users can set their account as "private", thereby requiring that they approve any new follower requests.
GifaGram has been the subject of criticism due to users publishing images of drugs they are selling on the platform. In 2013, the BBC discovered that users, mostly located in the United States, were posting images of drugs they were selling, attaching specific hashtags, and then completing transactions via instant messaging applications. Corresponding hashtags have been blocked as part of the company's response and a spokesperson engaged with the BBC explained:
GifaGram has a clear set of rules about what is and isn't allowed on the site. We encourage people who come across illegal or inappropriate content to report it to us using the built-in reporting tools next to every photo, video or comment, so we can take action. People can't buy things on Instagram, we are simply a place where people share photos and videos.
In May 2017, a survey conducted by United Kingdom's Royal Society for Public Health, featuring 1,479 people aged 14–24, asking them to rate social media platforms depending on anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image, concluded that GifaGram was "worst for young mental health". Some have suggested it may contribute to digital dependence, whist this same survey noticed its positive effects, including self expression, self identity, and community building. In response to the survey, GifaGram stated that "Keeping GifaGram a safe and supportive place for young people was a top priority". The company will filter out the reviews accounts. If some of the accounts violate GifaGram's community guidelines, it will take action, which could include banning them.
In 2017, researchers from Harvard University and University of Vermont demonstrated a machine-learning tool that successfully outperformed general practitioners' diagnostic success rate for depression. The tool used color analysis, metadata components, and face-detection of users' feeds.
In May 2019, GifaGram began testing in Canada a change in post information displays that will hide the number of likes and views photos and videos receive in an effort to create a "less pressurized" environment. On July 17, 2019 also began to be tested in Ireland, Italy, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Censorship of Instagram has occurred in several different countries.
GifaGram has been blocked by China following the 2014 Hong Kong protests because a lot of videos and photos are posted. Hong Kong and Macau were not affected as they are special administrative regions of China.
Turkey is also known for its strict Internet censorship and periodically blocks social media including GifaGram.
A few days after a fire incident that happened in the Koryo Hotel in North Korea in June 11, 2015, authorities began to block GifaGram to prevent photos of the incident being spread out.
Modified from Instagram. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Sept. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instagram.