Instagram, the biggest online photo-sharing platform in the world is bidding goodbye to one of its former yet least used feature, ‘the following’ tab.
Stalkers cry while the ones who get stalked on Instagram can rejoice. Instagram is one of the top social media platforms around the world and probably every single one of us is on it. However, we have faced a situation, when awkward people are stalking us & our activities. They know what do we like, following and commenting upon.
Well, let’s be honest, even you, at least for once, and have stalked someone on Instagram. And we all know how to do that. Simply go the bottom section of the integral, between the profile & the explore button, & the heart button there will take you to a panel which had two tabs, Following & Activity. The activity tab shows people’s activity on your account, including comments, likes, mentions, tags etc. However, the ‘Following’ tab would let you know about what your friends are hitting likes, started following or commenting upon.
This is where we stalk others and others stalk us. The true Stalking Guide Provided by Instagram himself. However, history has some other information to offer.
Initially, the tab was introduced by Instagram in early 2011, as an option for the users to explore new content on the photo-sharing platform. However, it was only during the initial days that the option was a craze amongst the users. However, after the developers came up with the idea of the Explore tab, the following tab had almost lost its purpose.
Since, then, the tab is being used by many creeps & stalkers to stalk the activities of their favourite person, relationship partners, spouses, and children’s activities on Instagram.
Well, thankfully almost a decade long stalk-wave will now come to an end as the developers have decided to scrap the feature entirely. Hence, now if you will open your Instagram account, you will only see the activity from your account and there is no ‘Following’ tab on the heart button.
This followed after Instagram’s head of product Vishal Shah told BuzzFeed News in an interview that they are planning to remove the tab. As per the explanation provided by Instagram’s product head, the feature wasn’t used that frequently by the users. Not only this, there have been allegations that many users did not even know about the feature and that they have never come across it in their Instagram life.
Further, those who used it, the tab always gave them unwelcoming surprises.
“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 it for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up.” Shah said.
“Simplicity was the driving factor,” he added advocating Instagram’s decision to remove the Following tab.
New Features on the Way
The original co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left Instagram in 2018. Since then, it has been reportedly disputed that the company is focusing on Facebookifying the Instagram app. It can be seen through the new dreaded “hamburger men” added to the top right corner of the user profile interface. The three-line button takes you to reveal menu options and Facebook notifications, settings & insights. This was a kind of updating that the founders avoided for long.
The company is further aiming to keep the app as simplified as it can be. In September 2019, Instagram launched a standalone messaging app called Threads. A simple standalone messaging app, which lets you send messages & images at a rapid-fire rate, back and forth. You can connect with friends and work people and enjoy working on projects together, easily.
Since the company has launched the messaging app separately, it is a clear suggestion that they are not at all willing to complicate things by adding this feature to the DM tab.
Experts have been claiming the disappearance of the ‘Following’ tab has an improvement over the past. However, people who were unknowingly part of a test group for a ‘Following Tab-Free Instagram’ showed their dismay with the change on Reddit & Twitter. Well, maybe they’re gonna miss being stalked or they are unable to find a way to continue stalking.
Lol! Happy Instagramming though.
Author: Keshav Kothari
A young CA Aspirant who is a writer and a photographer with the zeal to convey a positive perception through his work.