Instagram’s Testing a Feature That Lets Users Follow Hashtags

Instagram is currently testing a new feature that allows users to follow hashtags on the picture-sharing social platform, according to reports.

Currently, Instagram users must rely on individual accounts to keep up with content they want to engage with. However the added ability to follow hashtags, first spotted by Twitter user @Social_Pip and The Next Web, could make it much easier for users to find the content they're interested in.


For example, users interested in Formula 1 racing could follow the hashtag #formula1 and see the relevant content in their feed without having to actually follow the account holders who post the content.

Understandably, this could quickly become overwhelming, so Instagram appears to be limiting current hashtag follows to "top posts and recent stories", as per the overlay description that hovers over the option.

So far there's no indication if or when Instagram will roll out the hashtag following ability to everyone, but the feature's usefulness suggests it could make the cut sooner rather than later.


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You Can Now Add Photos or Videos More Than 24 Hours Old to Your Instagram Stories

Instagram this week announced that users can now add photos or videos that are more than 24 hours old to Stories.


Instagram continues to catch up with rival app Snapchat by removing the 24-hour limitation, which should come as no surprise given Instagram has essentially been copying Snapchat for well over a year.

Just like you normally would, swipe up from the camera to open your Camera Roll or tap the gallery icon. Scroll to choose your photo or video, and tap to select what you want to share to your story, which still disappears after 24 hours itself.

If you choose a photo or video that's more than 24 hours old, you'll automatically see a new sticker that helps you add context for when it was taken. The sticker can be rotated, resized, or removed as usual.

The updated version of Instagram is available now on the App Store [Direct Link].


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Instagram Makes Stories Previews More Prominent, Tests Stop-Motion Camera

Instagram today told TechCrunch that it is now featuring Instagram Stories more prominently with a larger preview box located between Instagram posts.

The Stories preview box now features a tiled design that's much more noticeable when scrolling through an Instagram feed. Previously, the mid-feed box looked similar to the smaller Stories bar at the top of the feed, which Instagram says it does not have plans to replace.

"We recently updated the design of the stories bar that you see while scrolling through feed. This update makes it easier to preview the stories from the people and accounts you care about."
In addition to making Stories more prominent, Instagram is also testing a new Stop Motion camera tool, as discovered by The Verge. The Stop Motion tool is designed to let users take a series of photos which Instagram then stitches together into a GIF.

The Stop Motion feature is available inside the Story camera alongside other options like Boomerang and the recently released Superzoom tool. Stop Motion is not available for all users at the current time, but Instagram has confirmed it's in testing.


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Instagram Gains New Superzoom Feature and Halloween Filters

Instagram for iOS was today updated to add a new "Superzoom" camera feature that's designed to let users record videos that have a dramatic zooming effect.

After opening the camera, Superzoom can be accessed next to the Boomerang option under the record button. Tapping Superzoom will cause the camera to automatically zoom in with suspenseful music.


You can make a Superzoom of anything -- your selfie, your friend's goofy face or even your half-eaten sandwich. As always, you can send your video to your friends on Instagram Direct or add it to your story.
In addition to Superzoom, Instagram is also gaining five new Halloween-related face filters and Halloween stickers, both of which will be available through November 1.


Filters can transform you into a vampire, zombie, ghost, and more, while there are a range of stickers that include pumpkins, candy corn, and other spooky things.

Instagram can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Instagram Launches New ‘Live With a Friend’ Video Feature

Instagram today introduced a new live video feature for the Instagram app, which is designed to let Instagram users invite friends to join them on a live video stream.

In testing since August, the new live video option splits the screen in two to let a viewer watch two people in one video feed.

Starting today, we're introducing a fun way to go live with a friend. Now, you can hang out and go live together, whether you're just doing homework or catching up on your day.

Live video helps you share in an authentic way, but sometimes it can be intimidating when you're on your own. It's easy to add a guest while you're broadcasting.
Instagram users can add a guest or a friend by tapping the "new" icon on the bottom right of the live video feed and then tapping "Add" on anyone who is currently watching an ongoing livestream on Instagram. Viewers can be swapped out at will, but live streamers can only have a single guest at a time.

When your friends are participating in a live video feed, two circles stacked together are displayed in the stories bar, and the feed can be watched and commented on just like any other live video.

Instagram says the new update is available as part of Instagram version 20, available from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Instagram Widely Rolling Out Ability to Post Your 24-Hour Stories Directly To Facebook

After beginning as a small test in Portugal in September, Instagram this week is beginning to roll out a feature that lets you automatically share the same Instagram Story to your Facebook Story with the tap of a button. TechCrunch spotted the cross-platform Story syncing, and Instagram parent company Facebook subsequently confirmed the feature's rollout will be coming to all United States users this week.

Instagram Stories has grown to become a big success for the company in the 14 months since it launched, with 250 million users interacting with Stories every day as of last June. In April, Instagram Stories surpassed rival Snapchat in terms of daily active users. The feature is the same across platforms, allowing you to post a picture or a video that disappears after 24 hours.

Image via TechCrunch
“You now have the option to share your Instagram Stories to your Facebook Stories. We’re always working to make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch.
While Stories on Instagram have been a hit, Facebook's launch of its own Stories tab has been less successful, with many users pointing out that little to none of their friends share on the platform. Likely because of this, Facebook soon after the feature's launch began populating the Stories tab with grayed-out profile pictures of friends so this section of the app wouldn't be as empty.

With the new update, Facebook Stories should see an uptick in user engagement since it'll be easier than ever to share a quick picture or video Story from Instagram, without having to open Facebook. For now, however, you won't be able post to Instagram Stories from Facebook Stories, but the company "hasn't ruled out" introducing such an update in the future.

Besides its main app and Instagram, Facebook has also added disappearing Story-like abilities into Messenger and WhatsApp.


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You Can Now Poll Your Followers in Instagram Stories

Instagram today introduced an interactive poll sticker in Instagram Stories that lets you ask a question and see real-time results from followers.


After you've taken a photo or video for your story, select the "poll" sticker and place it anywhere on the screen. Then, you can write a question and customize two answer options for followers to choose.

Once the poll has been shared, followers can immediately start voting and see the results. Once someone has voted, they'll see which choice is in the lead at any given moment. The story and poll both disappear after 24 hours as usual.

To see your own poll results, swipe up to open the viewers list for that part of your story. The menu that appears displays how many votes each option received, and you’ll also see who voted and which option they chose.

Instagram Stories has also gained a new color picker for text and brushes, and an alignment tool for text and stickers.

On iOS, when you position text or a sticker on your photo or video, new blue lines will appear to help you center it or avoid placing it anywhere that might get covered up when someone watches your story.

Instagram version 17.0 is available now on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone.

Tag: Instagram

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Instagram Grows to 800M Users Amid Continued Focus on Safety and Comment Moderation

Instagram has grown from 700 million total users in April 2017 to 800 million, as confirmed by parent company Facebook during an event in New York City this week (via CNBC). Of those 800 million total users, 500 million are opening the app and using it every day, compared favorably to Snapchat's 173 million DAUs that the Instagram rival reported earlier in August.


As it celebrates this milestone, Instagram today announced a few new community-focused comment moderation features rolling out to public and private accounts, building upon the "safer and kinder" message that's been the focus of Instagram updates over the past year. Now, whether your account is public or private, you'll be able to block any other account from commenting on your posts.

For public-only accounts, you'll have more granular options for choosing who can comment on your post: everyone, people you follow and your followers, people you follow, or just your followers. The company is also expanding languages that support its filter to block certain offensive comments -- in addition to English there will be support for Arabic, French, German, and Portugese.

A post shared by Instagram (@instagram) on


Other safety-centric additions include anonymously providing mental health resources to someone on an Instagram live broadcast, and a new #KindComments campaign that includes real-life murals in various cities around the world, along with new stickers available in the app. The company has accumulated all of these features and messages into a website called Instagram Together.

Tag: Instagram

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Instagram Face Filters Expand to Live Video

Instagram today expanded its selection of face filters to live video, allowing users to swap between filters when filming live content.

To use face filters during a live video, Instagram users can tap on the bottom right corner to browse through the filters and then apply them.

Starting today, you can play with face filters while sharing live video. Whether you're channeling a kitten or want to add some stars or rainbow light to your face, you can easily try on face filters while connecting with friends and followers in the moment.
All existing face filters are now available in live video, along with a brand-new sunglasses filter that will be available exclusively in live video for the next week. The sunglasses filter allows users to tap to change the scenery reflected in the lenses of the filter.

Instagram says face filters for live video are rolling out globally over the course of the next few weeks.

Tag: Instagram

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PSA: Snapchat Still Notifies You When Someone Screen Records Privately Messaged Snaps on iOS 11

One new feature in iOS 11 lets you easily record the screen of your iPhone as you navigate around the user interface, which can be useful when trying to help someone remotely troubleshoot an iOS problem or when making videos to share online. Since iOS 11 officially launched to the public yesterday, many users on Twitter and other sites have begun to worry that people will be able to screen record their Snapchats and Instagram Direct messages without notifications warning them of such activities taking place.

While it appears that such is the case for Instagram Direct, Snapchat will still let you know when someone is screen recording your privately messaged snaps. Thanks to a tipster who emailed us this morning, we decided to test out sending both still images and videos through the two previously mentioned apps, and discovered that Snapchat treats iOS 11's screen recording feature just as it does for taking a screenshot.

After using screen recording, the sender (left) is shown in-app screenshot icons and the receiver (right) gets notified

If your iPhone is locked, you'll get a push notification saying someone "took a screenshot!" of either your photo or video, and if you're within the app then Snapchat will still display the double-crossed arrows and let you know that the receiver took a "screenshot just now." So, while Snapchat isn't able to directly tell you that it's a screen recording on iOS 11, you'll still know that your DMs are being saved. Stories, on the other hand, appear to be less abiding to the screen recording/screenshot notification system, at least for now.

Instagram Direct doesn't yet appear to have such a feature for iOS 11 screen recording warnings. Similar to Snapchat, Instagram Direct lets you send disappearing photos and videos to other users, and includes a screenshot notification whenever the recipient captures the content you sent privately.

In tests on iOS 11, neither photos nor videos captured via screen recording in Instagram Direct told the sender that such an action had taken place. If screen recording becomes a bigger issue for these private messaging apps, and others like them, it's likely that developers will begin to implement more direct warning systems for users to look out for.

Take a look at our guide for iOS 11 screen recording to learn more about the new feature, and then check out our complete iOS 11 Roundup for all of the major -- and minor -- additions that were introduced in the new software update.

Thanks, Joshua!


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