Instagram Releases Close Friends Feature

Instagram users can now restrict who sees their “Stories” by identifying their closest friends on the social media app.

On Nov. 30, Instagram began rolling out a new feature called “Close Friends.” With it, Instagram users can now specify whether a Stories post is for all of their followers or for only a specified group.

To create the list, users visit their profiles and click on the Close Friends option in the menu. From there, they can choose from their list of followers. Instagram will also make suggestions for the Close Friends list.

Each user’s Close Friends list is not publicly viewable, nor can users request to be added to the list. However, users on a Close Friends list will see a green outline around private Instagram Stories and a green badge on the Story, indicating the content’s exclusivity.

Previously, users’ only options for privacy in regard to Instagram Stories were to either block individual people from viewing their Stories or to set their entire profiles to either Public (anyone can view) or Private (only followers can view).

Instagram has said it hopes the update will allow people to comfortably share more personal moments of their lives.

“Instagram Stories has become the place to express yourself and share everyday moments, but our community has grown and sometimes what you want to share isn’t for everyone,” Instagram wrote in a blog post. “With Close Friends, you have the flexibility to share more personal moments with a smaller group that you choose.”

Instagram may have created the Close Friends feature as an alternative to the Finstagram or “fake Instagram.” Common among teenagers, a Finstagram is a second Instagram account that people create in order to share more private content with fewer people. The Close Friends feature could eliminate that need, but only for Instagram Stories, not posts.

Some people are excited about the update. Others have lamented that rearranging the buttons on Instagram Stories (in order to make room for the share-to-close-friends option) has caused them to inadvertently post private photos. The “Save” button and the “Post to Your Story” button switched places.

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