So you want to re-post an Instagram photo. Maybe it’s a group shot from your college reunion published by one of your friends, or maybe it’s a meme that you think your brother would love. On Twitter, you’d hit Retweet. On Facebook, you’d press Share. On Instagram, you’d tap … nothing, because that option doesn’t exist.
For its part, Instagram has deliberately resisted adding a “regram” button. As Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom put it to WIRED last year, “that decision is about keeping your feed focused on the people you know rather than the people you know finding other stuff for you to see.” To Systrom, the exclusion of a regram option keeps the focus on “authenticity.” The photos you take, post, and share on Instagram should be your own.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped countless users from regramming all the time. And you know what? That’s totally fine—as long as you follow some basic social media etiquette.
How to Regram
Since Instagram doesn’t have a native repost feature, you’ll have to use a third-party app. The most popular ones, like Repost for Instagram (free on iOS and Android), add a watermark to the original photo to show where it originally came from originally. You copy a link to the Instagram photo you want to repost (tap the three dots at the upper right corner of the post to copy the link) and then open the Repost app. The app adds the watermark, saves that version of the photo to your Camera Roll, then opens Instagram where the original caption is pre-loaded. You can edit the photo or change the caption there.
A word about editing: Feel free to add your own caption, but it’s not kosher to delete the original poster’s caption or remix the photos you regram. Oh, you’d rather use the Juno filter but the original poster used Valencia? Too bad. You wouldn’t correct a typo in a retweet, or selectively quote parts of a shared Facebook post. With Instagram, it’s no different. Best to leave your regrams in their original form, warts and all.
The most important rule of regramming? Give credit where it’s due. Adding a watermark that clearly signifies the original poster is a good start, as is giving that person a shoutout in the caption of the post. But that alone isn’t enough to prevent potential copyright infringement. Just ask Groupon, which faced a class action lawsuit in 2016 for reusing peoples’ Instagram photos to promote its deals. Companies or brands should always get explicit consent before reposting someone’s photo—that means direct messaging someone and asking them for permission to regram a specific photo—to avoid copyright snafus. If you’re a regular old Joe Schmo, you should probably ask too. And always, always add attribution.
Soon, you might be able to share other peoples’ posts directly to your Instagram Story with a feature Instagram is reportedly testing. For now, though, regramming is something you’ll have to do in a roundabout way. Just don’t forget to follow the rules.