Instagram is Facebook’s hottest property and on its way to being the social networking giant’s cash cow at this point, so no surprise the app once known primarily as a photo-sharing platform keeps looking for new ways to juice the amount of time users spend inside it. Instagram’s latest move: It’s finally paid attention to the reason why so many people use so-called “Finstagrams,” an Instagram account that’s separate from a user’s main account that has tons of followers while they keep this secondary one private and much smaller in terms of followers. To that end, Instagram is rolling out a new “Close Friends” feature to promote sharing among a smaller and presumably tighter-knit circle of users.
The way you can check this new feature out is by going to your profile and tapping on “Close Friends” on the side menu. Nobody can request to be added to your list, which also only you can see. That’s meant to make you feel comfortable adjusting it however you want at any time. When you share a piece of content to your Instagram Story, you also now have the option of sharing it with just your “Close Friends.” It’s also important to note that one way to tell if someone has added you to their list is you’ll see a green badge when you’re looking at their Story.
The new feature is rolling out worldwide today in a new version of Instagram for iOS and Android. “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 notes in a company blog post. “With Close Friends, you have the flexibility to share more personal moments with a smaller group that you choose.”
It’s another indication Instagram is not slowing down in the wake of longtime company executive Adam Mosseri taking over after the abrupt departure of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October. Certainly, the Facebook-owned app has been on a hot streak with so many updates and tweaks that it’s practically negated the need for much of its 1-billion-strong user base to use Snapchat, which has been floundering in recent months as Instagram has been on an ascendance.
That’s certainly made the app a much-needed bright spot for Facebook, which as a Reuters piece notes today is increasingly focusing on the property as its fastest-growing revenue generator while the larger social network’s core platform “has come under fire from regulators pushing to improve information safeguards for individual privacy, to combat addiction to social media, and to stop misinformation or fake news.”