If you are an Instagram user, you are probably familiar with the Following tab. It’s a feature on the Instagram app that’s existed since 2011, allowing users to see what their friends are up to.
The tab essentially lets you see what posts your friends are liking, what they are commenting on, who they are starting to follow, etc. It was built to allow users to explore new content within Instagram, but that was long before Instagram Explore was even a thing. Over the years, as Instagram became more popular, the Following tab became more of a spying tool than anything else.
Humans being humans, obviously used the Following tab to see things that often ended up with unwelcome surprises. They’d use it to see what their significant other is up to, for example. Or if their best friend is intentionally ignoring their direct messages.
when hasnt the instagram "following" tab ended in heartbreak
— 𝘋𝘈𝘙𝘊𝘐𝘌 𝘞𝘐𝘓𝘋𝘌𝘙 (@333333333433333) November 25, 2016
Instagram is now getting rid of the Following tab, the company told BuzzFeed News. Instagram said the feature wasn’t being used by frequently, leading to the company suspecting that people weren’t even familiar with the feature’s existence. “People didn’t always know that their activity is surfacing. So you have a case where it’s not serving the use case you built it for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up,” said Instagram’s head of product.
The move will probably disappoint some users who are familiar with the Following tab and use it frequently, but I think it’s still a positive move. Instagram is trying to make its network more positive, and it’s even testing removing the like count.
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