Instagram is rethinking the way you share on the platform. According to a report by The Verge, the company is testing a feature that allows you to share photos with just a limited group of friends – and Instagram will be a lot better for it.
Currently, you have little in the way of privacy controls on Instagram. You can either make your account public and share with everyone, or make it private so that all your photos are only visible by the people you approve.
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That doesn’t allow for much nuance. It’s reasonable that you might be happy sharing some photos with the whole world, and others you’d probably want to limit to your family or closest friends. This had led many people to create duplicate, private accounts just to have some modicum of control.
Favorites gets around this by giving you the option to only share images with an inner circle of sorts, denoted by a green badge. That allows you to separate your private life and public life all within the same app and account – and it’s a shame more apps don’t do similarly.
Not to say they haven’t tried. Facebook has a plethora of sharing controls, but there are so many options, I suspect few people end up using them. Twitter lets you make lists, but those are public. Snapchat lets you select individual users, but there’s no way to create a permanent list of friends.
In fact, the closest thing that comes to mind is Google+ and its circles – but that was much too complicated. Instagram’s solution lies in its simplicity. The app offers up some suggested favorites – likely based off of the frequency of your interactions – and you can of course select your own. There are no subcategories or additional lists. Just the people you really care about, and the people you care for a little less.
It’s a welcome contrast for an app that thrives on the public presence of its users, especially after its recent Snapchat-esque updates and addition of livestreams to share even more.
And while you’ve long had the ability to send direct messages for more private communications, the interface is different from the main app – more of a convenience than an integral part of the app’s experiences. Favorites lets you use the Instagram you know and love, but makes it a bit more personal. It’s the best of both worlds.
The feature is currently limited to a small test, but given it’s been in the works for over a year, it probably won’t be long until we see it roll out widely.