Instagram could be about to radically change the way photos are shared according to a recent report in The Verge.
The new feature that may totally redesign how Instagram works is called ‘favorites’ and will allow any user to restrict content to a select group of favorite followers on a post-by-post basis. According to Robby Stein, product manager at Instagram, in response to a trend among many users to create posts with a more private audience on what is ostensibly a public platform.
Speaking to The Verge he says,
“People are trying to hack Instagram to create smaller audiences, and we’re trying to recognize that”.
Such “hacks” include secondary accounts, known as ‘Finstagrams’ or ‘Fake Instagrams’ known only to a user’s closest of friends. Here, a user can post photos which may not fit with their carefully curated public persona, or which may contain content such as insider jokes and unflattering content deemed appropriate only for the closest of friends.
Photographers who use Instagram to promote their images can often feel put off from posting an interesting or ‘fun’ image which doesn’t meet their usual standard, as they might meet with an unwanted follower backlash. Unlike Facebook, Instagram currently leaves users with the choice of either an entirely public profile which all can view, or an entirely private one for which follow requests must be approved before access is given.
Creating secondary (fake) accounts is currently the best way around this issue, giving the user the best of both worlds. However, the added hassle of maintaining two separate accounts is quite cumbersome. The new ‘favorites’ idea would allow a user to post public and restricted content from a single account without constantly having to switch between the two. Also, having two accounts for the same identity might be a violation of Instagram’s Terms of Service.
Once this new feature is enabled on your Instagram account, you will be given the options to share any individual post with only your closest followers. You’ll be able to see which posts are restricted by means of a special green icon overlaid on the photo/post. You will also get a new way of sorting your private posts via a new tab. Your list of favorites won’t be viewable to anyone else, but people on the list will be able to tell when they are viewing a ‘favorites-only’ post by means of the green badge. We for one welcome the new idea, however, don’t get excited just yet. This new feature is currently only available to a small number of test users, with a plan to roll it out globally to others over the next few months.