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Instagram reportedly testing Q&A feature in Stories

Another day, another report of a new feature coming soon to the fast-changing Instagram app that in recent days alone has seen the arrival of IGTV, news about Lite versions of the app, a redesigned Explore tab and the ability to add a soundtrack to Instagram Stories. Next up: the photo-sharing social network is reportedly testing the ability for users to ask questions to their followers in Stories.

Android Police became aware of the possible addition of what amount to Q&As by a reader who’s apparently part of a test rollout. In the screenshot below, you can see the user asking followers a specific question, which can be answered directly in the text box, as opposed to the current method of responding to a user’s Instagram Stories in which you send a reply that lands in their direct messages.

Image source: Android Police

If this launches wide soon, it will be another in a series of big moves by Instagram lately that have included a focus on beefing up Instagram Stories, which at 400 million users is already twice as big as Snapchat.

Giving users the ability to add music to Instagram Stories means you can now spice up your photos and videos with 15-second clips of popular songs. Q&As in Instagram Stories would be one more opportunity to use Stories to engage — and keep you there. The Facebook-owned company knows, of course, that Stories are key to how many people increasingly interact with the app, thanks to it giving you somewhere to post ephemera that you wouldn’t necessarily want to turn into a post that shows up in your main feed.

Which is why Instagram is also reportedly testing a way to keep Stories front and center in the app.

The Verge spotted Instagram testing a Stories panel that stays in place as you scroll down your feed, compared to its current static position at the top of the app (along with Stories from your friends showing up between posts after you scroll down). If it comes to fruition, this would be another prominent new notification of sorts in the app, along with the bright orange IGTV notifications announcing new content there.

Instagram, it should be noted, hasn’t confirmed the Stories panel that follows you down the feed test yet.

With a relentless pace of new feature development — along with, yes, borrowing freely from the competition — it’s not hard to see why Instagram has quickly surpassed the big blue app in the Facebook kingdom in terms of popularity and cultural cachet. As we reported earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence shows Instagram with an eye-popping $100 billion valuation. The constant rollout of new features, like some of the most recent including the possibility of Q&As in Stories, is yet another reminder — not that one was needed — that the company will continue working aggressively to keep users ‘gramming.

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Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.