Instagram Testing Feature That Alerts Users When You Screenshot a Story

Instagram is testing a new feature that will send an alert whenever you take a screenshot of a story, effectively putting an end to the practice of covertly taking screenshots of the temporary story posts on the social network.

News of the new feature was shared on Twitter by a user who posted an image of a screenshot warning message. Instagram plans to offer a one-time warning letting screenshotters know that subsequent screenshots or screen recordings will be visible to the person who posted the story.

Image via Twitter user Mulan

The feature is being tested with a small number of users. Participants can see who took a screenshot of their story by going to the list of story viewers and checking to see if there are camera icons next to any of the names. A flash icon denotes a user who took a screenshot.

Instagram does not plan to send out notifications when a screenshot of a story is captured, but it will be visible in the list of people who viewed the story.


Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is in testing right now: "We are always testing ways to improve the experience on Instagram and make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you."

It's not yet clear if and when Instagram will officially introduce this feature.


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Instagram Testing Feature That Lets You Share Other People’s Posts in Stories

Instagram has never offered an option to publicly re-share images and content posted by other people, but the company is now testing a feature that would let you share public news feed posts from other people to your Instagram Story.

Instagram this morning confirmed to TechCrunch that it is indeed exploring such a feature, which is available to only a small percentage of Instagram users. "We're always testing ways to make it easier to share any moment with friends on Instagram," the company said.


Right now, the only way to share a person's Instagram post with someone else is to send it through a direct message.

As TechCrunch points out, with the option to share an Instagram post to your Story feed, you can add commentary, stickers, and other alterations to a meme, celebrity post, or a friend's photo. Instagram's Story feed, for those unfamiliar with it, allows people to post temporary content that disappears after 24 hours.

Instagram is allowing people with public Instagram profiles to opt out of letting others to share their posts with a new "Allow Resharing to Stories" option that's available in the Settings section of the app.

Re-sharing posts to Stories is a feature that's restricted to a small number of Instagram users at the current time, but following testing, it's likely Instagram will roll it out to all users.


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Instagram Launches New Type Mode for Stories

Instagram today announced the launch of a new "Type" mode in stories, a feature that the company was previously testing with a small number of users.


Type mode is designed to allow Instagram users to share text-only posts in Instagram Stories, and the feature is similar in design to the Facebook option that lets you accentuate text-only posts with large fonts and colorful backgrounds.

According to Instagram, Type uses creative text styles and backgrounds to allow users to turn their "most random thoughts into something colorful and expressive."


Type mode can be accessed by opening up the Instagram Stories camera and selecting "Type" next to normal under the record button.
Tap "Type" and write whatever comes to mind -- your favorite lyrics, a silly thought or a random idea -- and play with different styles to change the look and feel. Then, you can pick different background colors, highlight words and phrases or add a background photo.
The new styles introduced with the Type feature can also be used when adding text to any photo or video, and as with all Stories posts, content will disappear after 24 hours.

Type content is part of Instagram version 30 for iOS, which can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Instagram Adds GIF Stickers Into Stories With GIPHY Support

Following a small test of GIF stickers within stories that began last November, Instagram has announced the feature will be available to all users beginning today.


When you tap to add a sticker to a picture or video in your story, there will now be a new GIF button with options powered by GIPHY. Similar to other apps that include GIPHY support, you can browse currently trending GIF stickers or manually search for a specific one, and add it into either a photo or video story.
Now you can add fun, expressive GIF stickers to any photo or video in your story. From bouncing letters and twirling hearts to dancing cats and pizza in space, these animated stickers help you make any photo or video funny, interesting or creative.
Further down the line, Instagram will introduce the ability to upload photos and videos "of any size" into a story. The company said that this will ensure you never have to lose part of an image or remove a friend out of a group video.


The update will be similar to custom size posts on the traditional Instagram feed, where you can pinch to zoom out and share the content in its original dimensions. Square, portrait, and landscape shots will be able to appear in their full sizes, and any extra room will get filled in with a color gradient that automatically matches the aesthetic of the image or video you're sharing.

GIF stickers are launching within Instagram today in the app's version 29 update on iOS and Android, and the company said custom sized stories should be available in the coming weeks.


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Instagram Adds New Feature Showing When You Were Last Active

Instagram was today updated with a new feature that displays when you were last active, with the new activity indicator accessible via the direct messages section of the app.

In Direct, under a person's name, you'll now see when they last opened up the Instagram app with a message like "Active Now" or "Active 2h ago." This is similar to how other apps like Facebook Messenger work, letting people you've previously interacted with know when you're online.


The activity indicator is enabled by default and appears to be limited to people you've chatted with via direct messages. According to The Verge, your online status is visible to people you follow or have previously DM'd, with the info not accessible to general followers.

If you would prefer not to have your online status available on Instagram, you can turn it off in the Settings app under a new option called "Show Activity Status." If you disable the feature, no one will be able to see when you're online, but you also won't be able to see the online status of your friends.

The activity indicator appears to be a feature that's been quietly rolled out to all iOS and Android users.

In related news, Instagram is currently testing another new feature called "Type," which is designed to allow users to share text-only posts via Instagram Stories. The text-only feature appears to be similar in design to the Facebook feature that lets you accentuate text-only posts with large fonts and colorful backgrounds, as seen in this video shared by The Next Web.


Type is not available to all users at this time, but those who have access can use it when sharing a story. The Type button is available next to other Instagram Stories camera options like Boomerang and Rewind, with several fonts and backgrounds available.


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Instagram Adding ‘Recommended for You’ Posts to Main Feed

Instagram has been testing a "Recommended for You" feature that is now rolling out widely to all users, reports TechCrunch. Recommended posts show up in your standard image feed and are suggested based on posts liked by accounts you follow.

When shown in a feed, these posts are denoted by a label at the top that clearly marks them as recommended, similar to how sponsored posts are handled. With recommended posts, though, Instagram shows several in a row instead of just one.


Recommended posts and videos have previously been displayed in the Explore tab, but are now being featured more prominently. Instagram users now have several feed interruptions, including these new recommended posts, sponsored posts, and stories.

According to an Instagram spokesperson who spoke to TechCrunch, recommended posts are meant to appear "after you've viewed all the posts in your feed." There is no disabling the Recommended for You feature, but recommended posts can be temporarily hidden by tapping the three dots at the top of a recommended post and choosing "Hide."

Instagram has been slowing introducing changes that bring posts from people who aren't actively followed into the Instagram feed. Earlier this month, for example, Instagram added a feature allowing users to follow hashtags rather than individual Instagram accounts.

Recommended for You is still rolling out to all users on iOS and Android devices and may not yet be available for everyone.


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Instagram Now Lets You Follow Hashtags in Your Main Feed

Instagram today announced that you can now follow any hashtag the same way you can follow normal accounts. Once you do, Instagram will use its algorithms to curate "highlights" from photos posted with that hashtag and place them within your main feed.

Similar to previous uses of Instagram's algorithms, if you engage with these posts by liking them or commenting, the social network will search for similar content and present it to you in the future. You'll be able to follow hashtags through searches in Explore or simply tapping on one already placed in another post.

To distinguish from a hashtag post and a normal post, there will be a "prominent button" above all hashtag posts. If something comes up that you don't like, you can dislike the post via this button. Instagram said this won't completely unfollow the tag, but it will help train the service on which parts of a specific hashtag you find appealing.

Image via James Bareham and The Verge

Matthew Ogle led the team behind the new feature at Instagram, and he previously worked at Last.fm and Spotify. When he was at Spotify, he was the product manager that helped launch Discover Weekly, and he told The Verge there are a few similarities to the origins of Spotify's curated playlists and Instagram's new hashtag-following option.
“Discover Weekly wasn’t about teaching an algorithm to understand and then recommend music. We taught an algorithm to look at what the community was already doing with this building block, the playlist, and to take the best of what the community was doing and extend it in a new direction,” says Ogle. “Hashtags are kind of the same way. You have something that is working organically on the platform, how do we add just enough additional structure so that more people can participate.”
Before the update, you could find hashtags mainly through searches in Instagram's "Explore" tab. Explore would become personalized over time and showcase posts that the app thought you liked, but there were no "like" or "dislike" options to further fine-tune the tab.

The new update will be rolling out to Instagram users throughout the day.


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Instagram Testing Standalone Direct Messaging App, Hinting at Potential Removal of DMs From Core App

Following in the footsteps of parent company Facebook, Instagram is beginning a test in six countries today that will see the launch of a new standalone app called "Direct," which will be solely focused on direct messaging friends and family members. As reported by The Verge, this could be the "first step" toward potentially removing messaging features from the main Instagram app.

Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay will get Direct on iOS and Android today, and if you download the app there and link it to your Instagram account, then your inbox in the core Instagram app "disappears" and can then only be accessed in Direct. Instagram currently has "no timeline" for a global launch outside of these countries, but said that its reason for segmenting off Direct in a test is to create a "best-in-class" experience for private messaging, which could not be possible inside a social-sharing application.

Image via The Verge
“We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that,” Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager, told me. “Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own. We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app.”
Direct is said to open to a camera like Snapchat, encouraging you to send photo messages to friends, and then you can swipe to go left to see your profile and settings, or right to navigate to your list of recent contacts. Direct also includes all of the usual filters, doodle tools, and photo effects Instagram has launched in stories and picture editing over the past year, as well as four new exclusive filters. "That's the whole app," according to The Verge, which also reported on a new way to easily jump between Direct and Instagram.
Still, there are some nice touches. Designers built what might be the niftiest app transition I’ve ever seen: If you start swiping to the right of the Direct inbox, an Instagram logo pops begins to peak out from the side of the app. Swipe all the way to the right and Direct will open Instagram. Similarly, you can swipe right in Instagram to reveal the Direct logo — a modified version of the paper-plane logo Instagram has long used for messages — and completing your swipe will take you back to Direct.
Since Facebook broke off Messenger into its own app in 2014, the company has added in chat bots, games, location sharing, ephemeral stories, online friend statuses, group video chat, and more. It's expected that Direct will also expand in a similar way if Instagram goes through with a global launch of the new app, which is starting off barebones in its test, leaving room for the company to "make it even better," according to Instagram product manager Hemal Shah.


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Instagram Now Lets You Highlight Your Favorite Stories Permanently on Your Profile

Instagram today introduced two new tools that it says will help you revisit your favorite Instagram Stories, as well as showcase these moments to everyone who visits your profile.

To start, a new Stories Archive feature will automatically save your 24-hour-long stories into a private section of the app when they expire. You'll be able to find these in the Archive icon on your profile, which already exists for regular picture and video archive options and will now include a toggle to switch to stories. Only you have the ability to see your archived posts and stories, and the auto-archiving feature for stories can be turned off in settings.


You can revisit all of your stories here, re-share any old story as a new story, create a new post, or add one to the new Stories Highlight section of your profile. Stories Highlights allows you to group old stories together in a new section that sits below your Instagram bio.
Story Highlights lets you show all the sides of your personality, and you can make highlights out of anything you’ve shared to your story in the past. From the best moments of your ongoing soccer season to all the stories you capture of your loved ones, the interests and activities that matter most to you have a home right on your profile.
You can tap the "new" button in this area of your profile, choose a Story from the archive, select a cover for the highlight, and name it. After you're finished the highlight will appear as a circle on your profile and will play as its own story when someone visits your profile and taps it.


Instead of disappearing after 24 hours, highlights remain on your profile until you choose to remove them. Instagram said that you can have as many highlights as you want, and any current highlight can be edited by tapping and holding its circle on your profile.

For more information check out Instagram's press release here.


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Instagram Announces New ‘Remix’ Option for Editing Friends’ Photos

Instagram today announced the launch of a new "Remix" feature for Direct Messages, which is designed to allow users to remix their friends' photos and then send them back for "fun conversations."

When viewing a photo message from a friend, you can tap on the camera icon at the bottom and to create a reply. The reply includes a photo sticker of the image you're replying to, which can be moved, resized, and edited with additional stickers, text, and drawings.


Instagram is also now allowing users to control replays. The new "One View" option will let friends see a message just once, while "Allow Replay" will allow friends to view the message for the standard period of time. Photos and videos sent using the "Allow Replay" option will loop automatically.

Instagram says the new features are part of Instagram version 24, which is available now on iOS devices.


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