Category Archives: Instagram

Instagram Rolls Searchable Map Of Nearby Businesses



Instagram’s latest update aims to make it easier for users to find local businesses or attractions by adding a searchable map that lets you “discover popular local businesses near you”, according to an Instagram Story from Mark Zuckerberg, The Verge reported.

The map will show you a list of places nearby and will let you see posts about a certain place or only certain types of business.

How do you get to the map? The Verge reported that there are a few ways to do that – if someone tags a place in a post or story, you can tap on the tag and hit “see location” to get to the location’s page. If you move around on the map, you’ll then be able to search the area to see what’s nearby. You can also search for places (including entire cities) in the Explore tab. Tabbing on a place search result will take you to it on the map.

The Verge also reported that after you have searched an area, you can use filters to narrow down the search result so you only see restaurants, bars, parks, or other types of places. You can save locations to check them out later.

TechCrunch reported that Instagram is introducing a new searchable and dynamic map experience on Instagram. The updated map experience will allow users to explore popular tagged locations around them and filter location results by specific categories, including restaurants, cafes, and beauty salons.

According to TechCrunch, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg posted on Instagram: “We’re introducing a new searchable map in IG today. You can now discover popular local businesses near you and filter by categories”. The post incudes what the map looks like. There is a “share” button at the top of the map, helpfully pointed out with an arrow that comes from the text.

Hashtag search is also available for local hashtags, such as #sanfrancisco. If your Instagram account is public, you can use location tags or stickers in your content to make it appear on the map for others to see.

Why is Instagram offering this feature now? According to TechCrunch, Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan somewhat offhandedly noted that younger users are now often turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps for discovery purposes. Perhaps Instagram realized that they need their own, searchable, sharable, map for the young people who use its app.

The Searchable Map follows Instagram’s recent addition of allowing users to buy products from small businesses directly through the app. People can pay with Meta Pay and track their order in chat on Instagram in the US. The payment system is PayPal, which can sometimes be problematic for sellers who are hit by a scammer.


Instagram Introduces New Ways to Verify Age on Instagram



Instagram announced that they are testing new options for people on Instagram to verify their age, starting with people based in the U.S.

If someone attempts to edit their date of birth on Instagram from under the age of 18 to 18 or over, Instagram will require them to verify their age using one of three options: upload their ID, record a video selfie or ask mutual friends to verify their age. Instagram is testing this out so they can make sure teens and adults are in the right experience for their age group. Instagram is also partnering with Yoti, a company that specializes in online age verification, to help ensure people’s privacy.

Here is more information about verifying age:

In addition to having someone upload their ID, Instagram is testing two new ways to verify a person’s age:

Video Selfie: You can choose to upload a video selfie to verify your age. If you choose this option, you’ll see instructions on your screen to guide you. After you take a video selfie, Instagram will share the image with Yoti, and nothing else. Yoti’s technology estimates your age based on your facial features and shares that estimate with Instagram. Meta and Yoti then delete the image. The technology cannot recognize your identity just your age.

Social Vouching: This option allows you to ask mutual followers to confirm how old you are. The person vouching must be at least 18 years old, must not be vouching for anyone else at that time, and will need to meet other safeguards Instagram has in place. The three people you select to vouch for you will receive a request to confirm your age and will need to respond within three days.

Instagram points out that you will still be able to upload your ID to verify your age with forms of identification like a driver’s license or ID card. They will use your ID to confirm your age and help keep their community safe. Your ID will be stored securely on Instagram’s servers and is deleted within 30 days.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Instagram is adding these extra steps as part of its efforts to ensure an “age-appropriate” experience for minors. While children under 13 are prohibited by the network’s terms of service, those who say they are ages 13 to 17 can use it with some limitations.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Instagram doesn’t verify the age a user declares when creating an account, and Instagram said these new tools won’t change that.

TechCrunch reported that there are two basic use cases for Instagram’s new verification system: adults who have registered as teens by mistake and trying to enter their correct age: and teens who are trying to circumvent the platform’s age-appropriate restrictions.

Personally, I think that one of the reasons why Instagram is announcing this new age-check system may have something to do with the lawsuits that Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram) is facing. In short, some have claimed in their lawsuits that Instagram includes defective design, failure to warn, fraud, and negligence.

Some of the lawsuits are from people who are now adults who claim they were harmed by Instagram. Others are parents of tweens or teens who experienced suicidal ideation or self-harm after using Instagram.


Instagram Changes Its Ranking System to Highlight Original Content



Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, tweeted about new features. “We’ve added new ways to tag and improve ranking: Product Tags, Enhanced Tags, Ranking for originality. Creators are so important to the future of Instagram, and we want to make sure that they are successful and get all the credit they deserve.”

TechCrunch reported that shortly after that announcement, a spokesperson from Instagram sent an email saying that Instagram is making changes to its ranking algorithm to prioritize the distribution of original content, rather than reposted content, in places like the Reels tab and feed.

The Verge reported that product tags are now available to everyone on Instagram, and you can assign yourself to a category like “Photographer” or “Rapper” and have that category show up every time you’re tagged in a post. Instagram is also going to start more heavily promoting original content on the platform.

The Verge also suggested that this is Instagram’s way of saying “Please, please, please stop just posting your favorite TikTok’s to Reels. We’re begging you.”

Engadget reported that the move to prioritize original content comes as Instagram has taken other steps to incentivize creators to post original content on its platform first, rather than re-sharing clips from TikTok and other apps. According to Engadget, the change seems to be geared toward discouraging accounts that simply aggregate and distribute popular memes and other re-posted content.

In addition, Engadget pointed out that those who don’t like Instagram’s ranked feed have an alternative now. Instagram brought back its chronological feed, but it is not enabled by default.

This news comes at a really good time for me, personally. I was in the process of deleting my Instagram account, photo by photo. The process is tedious and time consuming, and you can only delete one photo (or video) at a time. I noticed I had a lot of art on there and decided to make my account a showcase for my art and changed the name on my account to reflect that.

People who create original content and post it on Instagram should get credit for their work. It has always bothered me when accounts on social media content-scrape other people’s original content and try to pass it off as their own. I am happily surprised that Instagram is going in a direction that protects artists and their content.


Instagram Asks Users to Make Second Accounts



How long ago did you make your Instagram account? Is it something you still enjoy using? If not, you might consider making a second Instagram account. According to the Wall Street Journal, Instagram is allowing users to make a second account.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Instagram has quietly rolled out a pop-up over the past year that encourages users to “try a new account”. The notice says it will help people “keep up with a smaller group of friends” and explore their interests more easily.

Users get a choice of whether to link accounts – treating the second account as an extension of their first, like a new viewer profile in Netflix – or as a totally separate account with its own login, said Christine Pai, a spokesperson for Instagram’s parent, Meta Platforms, Inc. That determines whether Instagram considers this to be one active user or multiple. If the two accounts aren’t linked, a user can delete one with no impact on the other.

In my opinion, the option to make a second Instagram account might be beneficial for people who followed a bunch of accounts that they are no longer are interested in. That could mean accounts from brands and stores they no longer shop at. The option of making a new account could be useful for “influencers” who want some privacy.

In addition, teens who followed a lot of people upon joining Instagram might want a second account that they can start over with. It would give them the opportunity to be more selective about who they want to follow – and could help them avoid bullying. A person who realizes they are transgender, and who is now “out”, might want a new account that reflects the person they are today.


Instagram Sheds Light on How it Works



Have you ever wondered why you see posts on Instagram in the order that you do? Instagram posted a detailed blog post titled: “Shedding More Light on How Instagram Works”. I found some of the things in their blog post to be interesting.

Instagram explained that it doesn’t have one algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. Instead, they use “a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose.” Each part of the Instagram app – Feed, Explore, and Reels – uses its own algorithm tailored to how people use it.

With the exception of ads, Instagram says that the majority of what you see is shared by those you follow. Instagram uses what they call “signals” – and there are thousands of them. Here are some of the “signals” they look for when deciding how to rank a post:

Information about the post: These are signals both about how popular a post is – think how many people have liked it – and more mundane information about the content itself, like when it was posted, how long it is if it’s a video, and what location, if any, was attached to it.

Information about the person who posted: This helps Instagram to get a sense for how interesting the person might be to you, and includes signals like how many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.

Your activity:
This helps Instagram understand what you might be interested in and includes signals such as how many posts you’ve liked.

Your history of interacting with someone: This gives Instagram a sense of how interested you are generally in seeing posts from a particular person. An example is whether or not you comment on each other’s posts.

From this, I am getting the feeling that Instagram has been collecting a whole lot of data about its users. Personally, this makes me uncomfortable. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering that Facebook owns Instagram.

Instagram also wrote about “Shadowbanning” (which they have put in quotes). Instagram states that “shadowbanning” is a broad term that people use to describe many different experiences on Instagram. Instagram concludes that they need to be more clear about why they take down content, what is recommendable, and what isn’t.

In addition, Instagram notes that people consider their posts that are getting fewer likes or comments as a form of “shadowbanning”. Instagram responds: “We can’t promise you that you’ll consistently reach the same amount of people when you post. The truth is most of your followers won’t see what you share, because most look at less than half of their feed.”


GIPHY has been Acquired by Facebook



Facebook has acquired GIPHY to be part of the Instagram team. GIPHY was created in 2013 with the goal of making communication more fun. GIPHY announced that it will be joining the team at Instagram. This makes sense, considering that GIPHY’s stickers had already been added to Instagram stories, and their GIF search is accessible in Instagram direct messages.

Facebook announced that GIPHY is joining the Facebook company today. Facebook plans to further integrate GIPHY’s GIF library into Instagram and other apps. Facebook has used GIPHY’s API for years in Instagram, the Facebook app, Messenger and WhatsApp.

A lot of people in our community already know and love GIPHY. In fact, 50% of GIPHY’s traffic comes from the Facebook family of apps, half of that from Instagram alone. By bringing Instagram and GIPHY together, we can make it easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers in Stories and Direct. Both our services are big supporters of the creator and artist community, and that will continue. Together, we can make it easier for anyone to create and share their work with the world.

Facebook says GIPHY will continue to operate its library, including global content collection. Facebook will invest further in GIPHY’s technology and relationships with content and API partners. People will still be able to upload GIFs. Developers and API partners will continue to have access to GIPHY’s APIs, and GIPHY’s creative community will still be able to create great content.

Those who already use Facebook or Instagram may have made use of some of GIPHY’s stickers or GIFs. It seems likely that some of GIPHY’s users went to the GIPHY website to search for GIFs to put on other social media sites.

I’m not sure how users who aren’t fans of Facebook or Instagram will take the news that Facebook acquired GIPHY. The website doesn’t make it clear that it has been acquired by Facebook, and GIPHY’s announcement was posted on Medium. It’s hard to say how much data Facebook and Instagram were gleaning from GIPHY previous to this acquisition, and that thought could make some people stop using GIPHY.


Instagram Might Let IGTV Video Makers Earn Money



TechCrunch reported that Instagram confirmed that it has internally prototyped an Instagram Partner Program that would let creators earn money by showing advertisements along with their videos. The goals seems to be to entice creators to put their videos on IGTV in the hopes of being able to earn money. It sounds like Instagram is hoping the potential for earning money might influence creators to bring more and higher quality content to Instagram.

The program could potentially work similarly to Facebook Watch, where video producers earn a 55% cut of revenue from “Ad Breaks” inserted into the middle of their content. There’s no word on what the revenue split would be for IGTV, but since Facebook tends to run all its ads across all its apps via the same buying interfaces, it might stick with the 55% approach that lets it say creators get the majority of cash earned.

I think the addition of ads, inserted into the middle of video content, could kill this project. The Coalition for Better Ads recently announced a Better Ads Standard for short-form video for desktop, mobile web, and in-app environments. The goal is to improve the online ad experience for consumers. This standard will apply to ads that appear in short-form video content that is defined as 8 minutes or less.

Three ad experiences fall beneath the Better Ads Standard for short-form video:

  •  mid-roll ads
  • pre-roll ads or pods longer than 31 seconds that cannot be skipped in the first 5 seconds
  • non-linear display ads that are in the middle 1/3 of a playing video or are larger than 20% of the video content

The Coalition’s Better Ads Standards identify the ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability and are most likely to drive consumers to install ad blockers. From this, is sounds to me like sticking an ad in the middle of a short video on IGTV will not be acceptable to most people. This could make them avoid watching videos on IGTV.

It should be noted that TechCrunch referred to this new IGTV program as something that Instagram internally prototyped. It doesn’t mean Instagram is absolutely going to release an Instagram Partner Program anytime soon.