OCT. 7, 2019
Instagram is scrapping a feature that has long been a part of the app: the Following tab.
For years the Following feature has been exposing users’ behavior within the app, containing a never-ending list of users’ activities, from liking a string of cat videos to commenting on friends’ brunch pictures. Back in August, the social media company started slowly and surreptitiously removing the Following tab, leaving only the Activity feed.
In a report by BuzzFeed News, head of product at Instagram, Vishal Shah, cited simplicity as a catalyst for change. According to Shah, the feature, barely noticed by its users, no longer fulfilled its purpose. “People didn’t always know their activity is surfacing,” said Shah to BuzzFeed News. “So you have a case where it’s not serving the use case you built it for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up.”
For many, the Following tab’s removal may be a welcome change. With activities now private, Instagrammers can like, comment, follow, and share unencumbered, happy in the knowledge that their followers won’t see what they’re doing in the app.
The removal of the Following tab may also leave very little impact, as the Explore page has rendered its existence obsolete. Rolled out in 2011, the tab was created to help users discover new content. However, with Explore as the new discovery page, Following is now used as nothing more than a stalking tool.
Because the change is a slow roll out, some users may still have access to the tab while some may not. For those with the Following tab still intact: enjoy it while it lasts.
By Anne Felicitas, editor