Instagram to remove the ‘Following’ tab after reports of misuse

Photo by Callie Morgan on Unsplash

Instagram is officially removing its “Following” tab this week after reports indicating that it is related to privacy issues regarding people’s use in the platform and its initial purpose.

Previously, the “Following” tab in Activity would show the likes, follows, and comments your friends made on other accounts.
Image Source: Gizmodo

The “Following” tab feature in the Instagram app is a dedicated feature where users can have a brief and limited review of the activities of the people they are following. The feature is currently found inside Instagram’s heart icon along with the “You” section, which displays your personal feed updates.

The Following feature was one of the first introduced to Instagram back in 2011. At the time, it was a modest addition to the app to let users in on what photos and users are interested with. Following was the best way to discover new content since it would show you things your friends were liking.

However, with the addition of the “Explore” tab, which can also be found in the heart icon, it has established itself as the primary means of discovering new stuff on Instagram.

It is a more curated display of photos and users that Instagram suggests that you may find interesting that would encourage you to follow.

Other than the Following tab is regressing from its initial purpose; it is now best known as the easiest way to keep track of a different user’s like and follow activity, making it a conflict in many relationships.

For example, other users somehow use it to leverage against others by pointing out that they have liked or commented on a photo or video that may incriminate themselves in their relationships.

Instagram’s head of product Vishal Shah confirmed in an initial report that the reason for getting rid of the feature is because many people weren’t aware it existed in the first place. “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 if for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up,” they explained.

Once these changes go into effect, only your personal feed will be displayed.

Instagram began testing a version of the app without the Following feature back in August, but every user can expect to see the feature removed sometime this week.

In similar news, Instagram also decided to remove the display detailing the number of likes a post has garnered or the number of views a video has made in Australia after reports surfaced that it motivated insecurities and depression amongst teens.

The change Instagram is taking follows the research that accuses the platform of becoming a very hostile application and threatens teenagers’ mental health.

“The idea is to just really let you focus on the content and the experience of engaging without being worried or feeling pressured over how many likes a post has received,” says Instagram Australia’s Director of Policy.

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