Find Out Why Some Artists Are Ditching Instagram And Opting For This New App

Find Out Why Some Artists Are Ditching Instagram And Opting For This New App

Find Out Why Some Artists Are Ditching Instagram And Opting For This New App

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Cara is a social media and portfolio platform designed specifically for artists and creatives. The app’s developers emphasise their commitment to protecting artists’ images from being used to train generative AI models.  

8 June 2024

By Ishika Kumar

Meta’s stealthy use of Instagram posts to train its generative AI tool over the past few months has stirred discontent among artists on the platform. 

A report by Fast Company reveals that many artists are abandoning Instagram, concerned that their artwork is being exploited by Meta to enhance its AI capabilities.

Instagram and the Rise of AI Concerns

Instagram, a Meta-owned platform, has long been a favourite for content creators and influencers. However, the increasing integration of AI-generated art has cast a shadow over its appeal. Visual artists are disturbed by the news that their Instagram posts are being used to train Meta’s AI models without their consent. This revelation has driven some artists to seek alternatives, like the anti-AI app, Cara.

What is the New Cara App?

Cara is a social media and portfolio platform designed specifically for artists and creatives. The app’s developers emphasise their commitment to protecting artists’ images from being used to train generative AI models. While AI content is not entirely banned, it must be clearly labelled as such for further transparency. Cara is accessible on both desktop and mobile, and it is free to use. 

This focus on safeguarding creative works has led to a significant migration of artists from Instagram to Cara. According to reports, between 31st May and 2nd June, Cara’s user base tripled from less than 100,000 to more than 300,000 profiles, soaring to the top of the app store rankings.

Key Features of the Cara App

Cara employs an AI image detector and filtering tool to screen and reject AI-generated images from artists’ portfolios. Users can customise their home feed, setting preferences for the type of posts they wish to see. The platform also offers features such as Jobs Boards, Animated GIF covers, Multi-video and Sketchfab Embeds, and more. These features not only enhance user experience but also ensure that Cara remains a dedicated space for genuine artistic expression.

Artists’ Exit from Instagram

The tension between artists and AI companies has been escalating. Visual artists have been using Instagram to showcase their portfolios and gain visibility for years. However, many are now leaving the platform to prevent Meta from using their art to train AI models. This exodus was fuelled by a statement from a Meta executive in May, confirming that the company considers public Instagram posts as training data. Following this, Meta notified users in Europe that their posts would be used for AI training starting 26th June, with no option to opt out, except in the European Union where local privacy laws offer some recourse.

The Appeal of Cara

Cara has seen a rapid increase in users, growing from about 40,000 to 650,000 in just a week, and becoming one of the top five downloaded social apps on Apple’s store. This surge reflects artists’ desperation to find a platform that respects their work. The app’s founder, Jingna Zhang, a photographer and artists’ rights advocate, noted that the overwhelming interest has led to technical challenges, causing the app to crash multiple times.

Legal Battles and Ethical Concerns

Artists, including Zhang, have filed lawsuits against AI companies like Google and Stability AI, accusing them of training their generators on copyrighted material scraped from the internet. Authors and publishers have joined this legal battle, arguing that the training material should not fall under “fair use” laws. For many artists, their primary means of protecting future work is to move to platforms like Cara that promise to shield their creations from unauthorised AI use.

Protective Measures on Cara

Cara utilises detection technology from AI company Hive to scan for rule-breakers and labels each uploaded image with a “NoAI” tag. Although this tag is intended to discourage scraping, it does not offer complete protection against dedicated AI scrapers. Cara is also working with the University of Chicago’s SAND Lab, implementing tools like Glaze to make it difficult for AI models to accurately mimic an artist’s style.

The Growing Popularity and Challenges of Cara

Despite its popularity, Cara faces challenges in gaining artists’ trust. Many creatives are disillusioned by previous experiences with platforms like Instagram and DeviantArt, which have changed over the years. Artists like Eva Redamonti and Kelly McKernan express their frustration with AI scraping and the difficulty of finding trustworthy alternatives.

The Future of Artistic Platforms

Maintaining this momentum requires addressing technical issues and sustaining user trust. The app’s founders are committed to creating a space that respects and protects artists, but the future of Cara will depend on its ability to navigate these challenges.

Meta’s use of Instagram posts for AI training has sparked a significant shift among artists seeking to protect their work. Cara’s emergence as a refuge for these artists highlights the growing tension between creators and AI companies. 

While the battle over AI training and data privacy continues in the courts, platforms like Cara offer a glimmer of hope for artists striving to safeguard their creative integrity and respect for their work.