Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Instagram’s new feature is perfect for connecting with isolated friends

Published Mar 24th, 2020 2:01PM EDT
Instagram new feature
Image: Instagram

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • Instagram has introduced a new feature called Co-Watching which lets you view photos and videos on the app while video chatting with your friends.
  • Instagram has also added new stickers that you can use to promote social distancing and hand washing.
  • Instagram will remove COVID-19 accounts that aren’t posted by credible health organizations.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Whether you’re a social butterfly or prefer to go it alone, being forced to stay inside and avoid seeing your friends and family for what might end up being weeks or months is going to be difficult. People have been finding creative ways to spend time with those they care about, from daily phone calls to video chats on Zoom and Google Hangouts to online gaming sessions. And now Instagram is doing its part to help its users connect with one another while keeping them safe with a variety of new features introduced on Tuesday.

The highlight of Tuesday’s update is a feature called Co-Watching, which lets you view Instagram posts together with your friends while video chatting. You can start a video chat with a friend by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in a Direct thread, and then check out saved, liked, and suggested photos or videos by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner of the chat. Then you can talk to your friends while scrolling through Instagram.

Having spent several hours of my weekend sitting in front of my laptop’s camera chatting with friends, I can see this new Instagram feature getting a ton of use in the weeks to come. People are looking for any distractions that they can find, and for some of us, the only thing more distracting than scrolling mindlessly through Instagram for hours on end is scrolling mindlessly through Instagram for hours on end with a group of friends.

In addition to Co-Watching, Instagram is also including more educational resources inside of Instagram Search. If you make a search related to the new coronavirus or COVID-19, you will be directed to accounts that can provide you with accurate and timely information about the pandemic, such as the World Health Organization. There are also stickers you can use to remind people to practice social distancing and wash their hands regularly.

Instagram is doing what it can to stop the spread of misinformation on the app. COVID-19 accounts will be removed from account recommendations unless they are posted by a credible health organization. Plus, content in the feed or in Stories that has been rated false by third-party fact checkers will be downranked.

You can also now quickly identify and support coronavirus relief efforts in the new COVID-19 section of the Donation sticker. The sticker will be available in additional countries beginning this week as well.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.