Category Archives: Instagram

Users Shocked To Find Instagram Limits Political Content By Default



Instagram users have started complaining on X (formerly Twitter) after discovering that Meta has begun limiting recommended political content by default, ArsTechnica reported.

Instagram apparently did not notify users directly on the platform when this change happened.

Instead, Instagram rolled out the change in February, announcing in a blog that the platform doesn’t “want to proactively recommend political content from accounts you don’t follow.” That post confirmed on Meta “won’t proactively recommend content about politics on recommendations surfaces across Instagram and Threads,” so that those platforms can remain “a great experience for everyone.”

“This change does not impact posts from accounts people choose to follow; it impacts what the system recommends, and people can control if they want more,” Meta’s spokesperson Dani Lever told ArsTechnica. “We have been working for years to show people less political content based on what they told us they want, and what posts they told us are political.”

To change the setting, users can navigate to Instagram’s menu for “settings and activity” in their profiles, where they can update their “content preferences.” On this menu, “political content” is the last item under a list of “suggested content” controls that allow users to set preferences for what content is recommended in their feeds.

CNET reported reported: If you’ve noticed less political content on Instagram, it’s not just you.

Back in February, Meta announced that it would not longer “proactively recommend political content from accounts you don’t follow.” That means you should still see political content from anyone you follow. And you’ll be limited in what political content you see from other accounts, whether that’s on the explore page, in your feed recommendations or on reels.

Seeing less political content from people you don’t follow isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It could even be a good thing, if you tend to see a good amount of content that goes against your political leanings, CNET wrote.

Mashable reported it looks like Meta is distancing itself — and users — from political content even more.

According to Mashable, it’s easy to see why. Social media sites have been rife with misinformation and disinformation during past elections. It seems Meta’s response to these egregious mistakes is to make political content rarer on its platforms. Users have noticed that Instagram and Threads are quite literally putting limits on political content. On many user’s accounts, the settings were automatically set to “limit” users from seeing “political content”.

As Instagram describes, this decision affects all of the suggested posts in Explore, Reels, Feed Recommendations, and Suggested Users. “It does not affect the content from accounts you follow,” Instagram says.

“This announcement expands on years of work on how we approach and treat political content based on what people have told use they wanted,” Dani Lever, a Meta spokesperson, told Mashable. “And now, people are going to be able to control whether they would like to have these types of posts recommended to them.”

In my opinion, I really don’t want to see political posts on Instagram. That said, if you really want to see more political posts, there’s a way to make that happen if you go into Instagram’s settings.


Instagram Announces New Messaging Improvements



Instagram wrote yesterday: We are excited to announce a number of new DM features to help you better connect with friends, making your messaging experiences more flexible and enjoyable. People connect daily on Instagram through posts and stories, but especially through messaging, so we’re excited to be bringing these new messaging features to Instagram.

Edit your messages

Whether it’s a typo or something just doesn’t sound right, you can now edit messages up to 15 minutes after sending. To make a change, press and hold on the sent message, then choose “edit” from the dropdown menu.

Pin chats to top of inbox

For chats with your best friends or family, or simply once you want at the top of your inbox, soon you’ll be able to pin up to 3 group or 1:1 chats for easy access.

To move a chat to the top of your inbox, swipe left or tap and hold on the chat, then tap “pin”. You can choose to unpin a thread at any time.

Toggle read receipts in DMs

Read receipts conveniently let other’s know you’ve read their message. Now, you can choose to turn read receipts on or off, for all of your chats or specific ones.

To turn it on or off for all chats:

Go to account settings
Tap Messages and story replies
Tap Show to read receipts
Toggle read receipts on or off for all of your chats

TechCrunch reported that the ability to edit your DMs lets you fix a typo or change things around if your message doesn’t quite sound right.

To edit a message, you need to press and hold it, and then choose “edit” from the drop-down menu. Once you edit a message, the purple text bubble will have an “Edited” label on top of it to notify the other person that the message has been changed.

According to TechCrunch, Instagram also recently started allowing all users to turn read receipts off, for all of their chats or specific ones. You can turn off read receipts for all chats by going into your account settings, tapping “Messages and story replies” and then clicking on the “Show read receipts” button and then toggling them off.

Meta (parent company of Instagram) reported you can now save your favorites stickers in DMs for easy access. Press and hold on the sticker you want to save and you’ll find them at the top next time you go to stickers.

Additionally, stickers, GIFs, videos, photos and voice messages are available when you reply to a message.

In my opinion, these new features are likely to make Instagram users eager to try them out. I think the stickers and GIFs will be well used, and the ability to toggle read receipts and to pin things to the top of your Instagram is a great idea.


Instagram Updated Reels



Instagram provided information about the hottest trends and more updates on Reels. This was posted on the Creators Instagram blog.

We strive to make Instagram a home for creators like you to express your creativity, connect with your audience, and earn a living. Today, we’re announcing improvements to Reels – that empower you to do what you do best.

Key Updates:

  • Central destination to find trending audio and hashtags
  • Redesigned editing experience bringing together video clips, audio, stickers, and text
  • New insights on total watch time and average watch time to help you better understand how your reels are performing, plus new recognitions for hitting key milestones.
  • Updates to gifts, including an easier way to recognize fans and bringing gifts to more creators internationally

Find Out What’s Trending on Reels

Creators are always looking to discover fresh content ideas, so now we’re adding a dedicated destination for you to be inspired by the latest trends. You’ll be able to see the top trending songs and hashtags on Reels, see how many times the audio has been used, tap in to use it, or save the audio for yourself.

You’ll also be able to see what the top trending topics and hashtags are on Reels to inform your own content. For example, festival season might be trending earlier than you think! We’ve found that people actually start sharing their #coachella content before the festival even begins. These are the types of insights you can tap into with the new trends destination.

Making it easier to Edit Reels

We’re making it easier for you to edit your reels on Instagram by bringing together video clips, audio, stickers, and text on a unified editing screen. This makes it easier to align and time elements of your reel to the right moments in a more visual way. Keep an eye out for even more exciting tools to come as we continue to invest in more ways to make editing your reels simpler and easier. This is available globally, across both iOS and Android devices.

The Verge reported that the biggest change is in the video editing process. Users will now be able to tweet uploaded clips, audio, stickers, and text overlays all in the same screen instead of having to do it in separate steps.

Stills shared by the company show a timeline editing feature similar to what TikTok has, which helps when lining up audio and video clips and makes transitions smoother.

According to The Verge, keeping content creators happy with how they make money on the platform has been a challenge for both Instagram and TikTok – both of which have been overhauling or cutting funds meant to reward users for high-performing content.

One alternative for monetizing content has been virtual tips from fans, and TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram all have a version of the feature. A new update to the Reels gifting feature will show a creator which fans have sent them gifts; they’ll then be able to acknowledge it by tapping a heart icon.

I use Instagram as a place where I can share my artwork with my friends. I’ve never had an interest in using Reels. That said, I’m certain there are younger people who use Instagram that primarily focus on making Reels, and I hope the new features work well for them.


Instagram Has Started Putting Ads In Search Results



Instagram posted information titled: “Promote Upcoming Launches And Reach More People With New Instagram Ads”. In my opinion, nobody wants to have their Instagram feed filled with ads – especially if those ads are irrelevant to the user. I guess this is how Instagram is attempting to make more money.

The information from Instagram starts with: People comes to Instagram to discover new brands, products, or upcoming events. Today, we’re introducing two new ad products that give businesses more ways to get discovered and from meaningful connections – Reminder ads and ads in search results.

Reminder Ads

We recently partnered with brands such as Starz to test a new ad format that makes it easier for businesses to announce, remind, and notify people of future events or launches that they might be interested in.

Reminder ads, rolling out to all advertisers as an option in feed, help advertisers build awareness, anticipation, and consideration for upcoming moments. People can opt into convenient reminders and receive three notifications from Instagram one day before, 15 minutes before, and at the time of the event.

Ads in Search Results

We’re also beginning to test ads in search results to reach people actively searching for businesses, products and content. Ads will show up in the feed that people can scroll when they tap into a post from search results. We plan to launch this placement globally in the coming months.

The Verge reported while Instagram’s post vaguely states the ads will “reach people actively searching for businesses, products and content,” company spokesperson Shenny Barboza has since confirmed to The Verge that “ads will show up for search terms that fall within our community and recommendation guidelines.” That means we could potentially see ads on all the searches that meet those criteria.

According to The Verge, Instagram has only been adding more and more ads over the years, which now populate the platform’s Explore page, Explore feeds, Reels, Stories, and even user profiles. Emma Roth, writing for The Verge, stated “I can’t say I’m surprised that Instagram’s bringing them to search result feeds as well, but I will be mourning the loss of yet another part of the platform where my scrolling isn’t interrupted by ads.”

TechCrunch reported that once the ad placement rolls out widely, users around the world will start to see ads related to their searches. For example, if you search for “Skin Care”, you will see relevant ads within the search results feed. You can tell the difference between ads and regular posts through a “Sponsored” label under the account’s name.

According to TechCrunch, these new tools serve to boost the company’s ability to pull in revenue at a time when Meta has been seeing declining ad sales. As part of its Q4 2022 earning results, Meta revealed last month that its ad revenue fell to $31.2 billion from $32.6 billion in the same quarter last year.

TechCrunch also wrote that after Meta reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline in Q2 2022 amid declining ad sales, the company increased its ad load on Instagram with the launch of two new ad slots. Meta launched a new ad format for Facebook Reels, and started allowing advertisers to run ads on the Explore home page and in profile feeds.

Personally, if it turns out that the plethora of ads Instagram posts is more than I’d like, I will definitely consider removing my art from Instagram and deleting Instagram itself. Instagram/Meta is taking huge risk that current users will leave the platform rather than having deal with so many ads.


Instagram Provided Ways To Keep Your Account Safe



Instagram (which is owned by parent company Meta) announced that they are committed to fostering a safe and supportive community for everyone who uses Instagram. There are some easy things you can do to help keep your account safe, like making sure you have a strong password and enabling two-factor authentication.

Instagram has highlighted several new features designed to help keep people’s accounts safe, and offer them support if they lose account access.

Additional Account Support

To support accounts that are experiencing access issues or may have been hacked, Instagram created instagram.com/hacked – a new, comprehensive destination people can rely on to report and resolve account access issues.

If you are unable to log in to your account, enter instagram.com/hacked on your mobile phone or desktop browser. Next, you will be able to select if you think you’ve been hacked, forgot your password, lost access to two-factor authentication or if your account has been disabled. From there, you will be able to follow a series of steps to help regain your account.

Earlier this year, Instagram started testing a way for people to ask their friends to confirm their identity in order to regain access to their account, and this option is now available to everyone on Instagram. If you find yourself locked out of your account, you will be able to choose two of your Instagram friends to verify your identity and get back into your account.

Keeping Your Account Secure

Instagram is testing ways to help prevent hacking on Instagram before it happens. First, they remove accounts that their automated systems find to be malicious, including ones that impersonate others, which goes against our Community Guidelines. Second, because bad actors often don’t immediately use accounts maliciously, we’re now testing sending warnings if an account that we suspect may be impersonating someone requests to follow you.

Engadget reported that Instagram created a hub where people can go to report and resolve account access issues they’re having. Engadget noted that this could be hugely beneficial for hacked users who are struggling to regain access to their accounts.

In addition, Engadget reported that if you get locked out of an account, you can get two Instagram friends to verify your identity. This feature was tested out earlier this year and is now available to everyone. The two friends that you select to help verify you will have 24 hours to respond to the request. If they do, Instagram will let you reset your password.

In my opinion, these changes made by Instagram are a step in the right direction. According to The Verge, Instagram users whose Instagram accounts were stolen by hackers had to pay a ransom in order to get it back. Some had to turn to other hackers for help. It is good that Instagram is doing something to prevent that problem from happening.


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.