Artists are terrified Instagram is stealing their work. They’re turning to hot platform Cara — but it’s not a perfect solution.

Artists are terrified Instagram is stealing their work. They’re turning to hot platform Cara — but it’s not a perfect...

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Artist Palette with a Cara logo
Some artists are leaving Instagram for Cara, but it’s not a perfect transition.

  • Artists are angry at Meta for using their Instagram and Facebook photos to train AI models.
  • They fear Instagram’s Emu could replicate their copyrighted artworks, threatening their jobs.
  • Some artists are moving to Cara, which gained 600,000 users in a week but has had issues.

Some artists are angry that Meta is using their photos on Instagram and Facebook to train its artificial intelligence models.

A trio of artists told Business Insider they’re worried that Instagram’s text-to-image generator Emu will produce images emulating their style, which means that artists will play a role in endangering their jobs.

“It is already difficult to make a living as an artist, and these practices feel exploitative,” Christina Kent, a San Francisco-based fine artist, told Business Insider.

Some artists are moving to Cara, a social media platform designed for artists.

Cara, launched in 2023, doesn’t train any AI models on its users’ content, and it has an automatic feature that prevents others from scraping art on the platform. Cara founder Jingna Zhang is a Singaporean photographer whose work was plagiarized by a Luxembourg-based artist in 2022. She recently won an appeal regarding the photograph in a Luxembourg court.

Cara gained over 600,000 users in the first week of June and has moved to the top of App Store rankings, according to a TechCrunch report last week. The app’s spike in sign-ups came after Meta’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, said last month that the company uses publicly available photos and text from Instagram and Facebook to train Emu, and after European users were notified that their posts will be used to train AI, unless they opt out, in late June.

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“Artists who are choosing to leave for Cara are doing it out of outrage and disagreement” with Meta’s AI policy, said Meridian Culpepper, an animation artist in Los Angeles.

Losing hard-earned followings

Professional artists said they have issues with Instagram beyond AI, including that they feel forced to buy ads to be seen. But giving up the platform completely won’t be easy.

“Instagram has been important to me as an artist — it’s how I started my art career,” Kent, who has nearly 75,000 followers, told BI.

She said that it allowed her to connect with art collectors from around the world and helped her transition to painting full-time.

Kent said she doesn’t like how Meta is taking artists’ creative work and profiting from it.

“Despite these concerns, I feel like I have to keep my Instagram for now, since that is where my collectors are,” Kent said.

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Culpepper, the Los Angeles-based animation artist, said she’s sticking around because tech giants like Meta set an example for others in the industry.

“I am staying on Instagram because I see the value in fighting for that choice,” said Culpepper. “I’m not going to delete my account and run away. I want to stay and see the issue resolved.”

Not just an artist’s problem

Opting out can be a hassle. Meta asks users to go through several steps and fill out a form that asks them to provide proof that their private photos or personal details show up in Meta’s AI model, along with the relevant prompts used to get the results.

And filling out the form and providing “evidence” is not a guarantee that accounts will be excluded from scraping.

“We don’t automatically fulfill requests sent using this form. We review them consistent with your local laws,” text above the form reads.

Meta AI scraper "proof" form
Meta’s form asks users for “evidence” that their personal information is being scraped.

Some artists said governments should give users the right to opt out.

“I’m also quite upset that Singapore doesn’t have the option for people here to opt out of Instagram and Facebook using our pictures and artworks for their AI,” said Noah Smith, a Singapore-based animation student who said he is on Instagram and Cara.

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Far from perfect

Artists, including Kent in San Francisco, said they’re using platforms like Cara to hedge against the whims of any one platform.

“The past few years have shown me that I can’t build a business that is dependent on one platform. Instagram can take my audience away with a simple change of the algorithm,” Kent said.

Along with opening an account on Cara, she has also started a YouTube channel to share more long-form content.

Switching platforms comes with its own headaches — the spike in new Cara users led to a series of app crashes last week.

“The app has been slow this week with all of the new traffic, and I haven’t been able to post much,” said Kent. “It also erroneously flagged one of my paintings as AI-generated, and I haven’t been able to resolve that yet.”

Meta and Cara did not respond to BI’s requests for comment. Cara’s founder told the Washington Post that the free app was still in development.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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