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Posts tagged with "instagram"

Users Join Threads in Droves

Last night, by the time I called it quits and went to bed Threads, Meta’s new social network, had hit 2 million users in 2 hours. As I write this, Meta’s Adam Mosseri says the count has now surpassed 10 million in 7 hours, which exceeds Mastodon’s user base.

Currently, Threads is a pretty barebones 1.0 experience that was undoubtedly released this week to capitalize on Twitter’s latest troubles. The app is also buggy. I’ve seen posts fail to load, glitchy interactions, and other bugs, but despite the load, the new service has held up under the influx of users, which is impressive, although not entirely surprising given Meta’s scale.

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Threader, a Shortcut to Open Threads Profiles from Mastodon and Twitter Directly in the Threads App

Running Threader via Back Tap on Twitter and Mastodon.

Running Threader via Back Tap on Twitter and Mastodon.

Instagram just rolled out Threads, the company’s new text-based social network that’s been advertised over the past few weeks as an alternative to Twitter. I’m trying out Threads (you can find my account at and in the process of setting up the list of people I want to follow, I immediately run into an annoying issue that I fixed with a shortcut.

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Instagram Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary on the App Store with Classic Icons and Adds New Stories Archive and Anti-Bullying Features

As of today, Instagram has been on the App Store for ten years. To celebrate, the app has brought back classic icons from its past as well as variations on its current icon as an in-app Easter egg.

As The Verge reports, the icons can be accessed by going to Instagram’s settings view and then long-swiping down on your iPhone’s screen until a series of emoji appear. Keep swiping until confetti rains down, and the icons are revealed. Like me, you may also have to restart your iPhone for your Home Screen changes to take effect. In total, there are a dozen icons to choose from, excluding the default option.

Instagram's new Stories Archive views.

Instagram’s new Stories Archive views.

According to TechCrunch, Instagram has released a couple of other features too. From your profile page, you can access three years of archived Stories from a private calendar or map view. For National Bullying Prevention Month in the US, Instagram is also testing a feature that automatically hides comments similar to others that have already been reported by users as abusive. Warnings to people who post offensive comments are also being expanded to alert repeat offenders that their comments may be hidden from view or their accounts deleted.

Instagram Adds Close Friends Feature to Stories

In development for over a year, Instagram announced today that it is adding a new ‘close friends’ feature to Stories. The new feature, which is rolling out in stages today, lets users limit who can see individual Instagram Stories posts.

Limiting a photo or video to close friends is straightforward. Friends can be added or removed from the ‘Close Friends’ list from the side menu in your Instagram profile. When you’re ready to share a photo or video as part of your Instagram Story, the new feature adds a circular green button with a white star to the bottom of the screen that restricts sharing to people on your close friends list.

When you receive content from people who have added you as a close friend, their avatar at the top of Instagram’s main view will be outlined in green to signal that a close friend has shared something. The image or video is also badged as having been shared by a close friend.

It will be interesting to see how the Close Friends feature impacts Instagram. I like the idea of limiting some of what I share on Instagram with a smaller circle of friends. For many people, I expect the feature will make them more comfortable with sharing more as opposed to moving their entire Stories usage to a private group. However, it also has the potential to drain Stories of much of their content in favor of private silos.

Instagram Updates Two-Factor Authentication and Verification Process

You may not see the changes yet, but Instagram has announced that it has begun rolling out changes to two-factor authentication. The company is also changing the account verification process but not the standard by which accounts are verified.

In the wake of recent high-profile Instagram hacks, the company has added the ability to use authenticator apps to its two-factor authentication setting. Receiving a code by text message is still an option, but it’s a technique that has come under scrutiny due to its susceptibility to SIM card hacking. The new option requires a code generated by an app like Google Authenticator, 1Password, or Authy.

Instagram has also modified the account verification process. A form requesting verification will be available from the app’s settings. After a request is reviewed, Instagram will contact the user accepting or denying it.

A new ‘About this Account’ section is also being added to Instagram accounts with large followings to help users judge the authenticity of qualifying accounts. Information like when the account was set up, its country of origin, ads it runs, and other data will be listed beginning in September.

Instagram Launches IGTV Video App Featuring Longer-Form Video

Instagram announced a video service today that is available as a standalone app called IGTV. The new service will be available soon from a button in the top right-hand corner of the Instagram app’s main screen too.

IGTV features vertical video that is longer than is available in Instagram’s Stories feature. Currently, channels created by new accounts and ones with fewer followers are limited to uploading videos that are 15 seconds to 10 minutes long, but TechCrunch reports that eventually all accounts will be able to upload videos up to one hour long.

When you first open the app, it opens to a ‘For You’ section of videos from people you follow on Instagram along with a selection of popular content. The currently-selected video dominates the top two-thirds of the screen. The bottom third of the screen is a horizontally-scrolling, tabbed thumbnail interface for picking other videos. The included tabs are ‘For You,’ ‘Following,’ ‘Popular,’ and ‘Continue Watching,’ which are self-explanatory. You can also swipe between videos in a tab the same way you would in Instagram Stories.

Swiping down dismisses the thumbnails and other UI, so the video dominates the screen. A tap on the video reveals play/pause controls, a scrubber to advance or rewind the video, and buttons to mark videos as favorites, comment, share it with other Instagram contacts, copy a link to the video, report it, or hide it. Tapping the title of the video displays its description, which can include URLs that open in Safari View Controller. TechCrunch says users will be able to subscribe to channels, though that doesn’t seem to be implemented in this initial release.

Although there is currently no advertising in the app, that is coming based on Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom’s comments during the event today. According to the TechCrunch report on the event:

“There’s no ads in IGTV today,” says Systrom, but he says it’s “obviously a very reasonable place [for ads] to end up.” He explained that since creators are investing a lot of time into IGTV videos, he wants to make that sustainable by offering them a way to monetize in the future.

Overall, I like what I’ve seen in the short time I’ve been using IGTV. Only a couple of the accounts I follow have posted videos so far, but I expect that will change as creators experiment with this new outlet. One big disappointment from a design standpoint though, is that the app does not support full-screen iPhone X video.

IGTV is available on the App Store as a free download.

Instagram Rolls Out Private Stories Archive

Two important updates to Instagram’s Stories feature announced today – here’s Casey Newton, writing at The Verge:

Instagram is rolling out a private archive of the ephemeral stories you have posted in the app. Starting today, Instagram will begin to add your expired stories to the archive feature, which until now has been used only to house photos and videos you no longer want to display on your public profile. The stories archive, which you will be able to opt out of, is being introduced globally on Android and iOS.

The stories archive represents another feature copied from Snapchat, which introduced its own version of the archive, called Memories, last year. But the archive differs from Snap’s version in one key respect: Instagram will let you post old stories to your profile in a feature the company is calling Highlights. You’ll be able to package old stories together in the archive, give them a name, and share them to your profile, where they will appear above your other posts.

I don’t use Instagram Stories as frequently as my friends (all their social updates start via Stories these days), but with an automatic archive feature combined with Highlights, it may be time for me to start posting puppy videos more often.


Apple Joins Instagram, Highlights Photos Shot on iPhone

Apple launched an official Instagram account today, @apple. Rather than opting to promote general company news, the primary focus of the account appears to be functioning as an extension of Apple’s long-running ‘Shot on iPhone’ ad campaign.

Nearly all of the initial posts from the account are galleries featuring various photos and videos shot using iPhones. Each post’s caption reads ‘#ShotoniPhone by…’ followed by a list of the names and accounts of those who created the content, and a quote from those content creators about their work. The bio line of the account reads, “Tag #ShotoniPhone to take part.” Presumably using that tag may lead Apple to contact you about including your work in one of their upcoming collections.

While the focus of the account may change in the future, Apple’s current strategy of tying together its photography marketing campaign with the real work of photographers on Instagram is an effective, thoughtful use of the platform. By connecting with content creators and highlighting their work, Apple is not only fostering an environment of social connection among both amateur and professional photographers, but it’s also promoting the iPhone’s strengths as a camera.

Instagram Launches Snapchat-Style Face Filters and More

Instagram has announced several new features rolling out today, chief of which is another major borrow from Snapchat:

Today, we’re introducing face filters in the camera, an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining. Whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or you’re out and about, you can use face filters to express yourself and have playful conversations with friends.

From math equations swirling around your head to furry koala ears that move and twitch, you can transform into a variety of characters that make you smile or laugh. To see our initial set of eight face filters, simply open the camera and tap the new face icon in the bottom right corner.

The initial batch of eight filters is smaller than what’s available on Snapchat, and it remains to be seen how often new filters will be added, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more growth in this area. Snapchat’s advantage is not only in the number of filters, but also in its recent expansion of filtering technology in the form of World Lenses – and Instagram has made clear its commitment to beating Snapchat at its own game.

Also launching today is a new “Rewind” camera format to play videos in reverse, a hashtag sticker that can be used when crafting Instagram Stories, and a new eraser brush to complement the set of existing drawing tools.