Instagram's New 'Close Friends' Feature Allows You To Privately Share Stories With A Curated Group Of Friends

Photo: Instagram Press

Photo: Instagram Press

Two days after rolling out new features for the visually impaired, Instagram revealed another new feature in Close Friends.

With Close Friends, you can share Stories with a curated group of friends rather than all of your followers or the general public.

You can use the feature by doing the following:

1. Open up Stories and take a photo or video

2. Tap the green star icon labeled "Close Friends" to generate the "Close Friends List" screen

3.  Add users to "Your List" by using the Search function or by scrolling through the "Suggestions" list, which are users that you recently communicated with and tap "Add"

4. Once you have finalized your list, hit "Done" to save it

5. Tap "Send To" to move to the Share screen and tap "Close Friends Only" to share your photo or video with your Close Friends List

Whether you add or remove someone from your Close Friends List, users will never be notified. However, those who are on your Close Friends List, will see a green circle around your icon in their Stories feed when you post something for your Close Friends List

Back in 2017, Instagram tested a similar feature called Favorites, which allowed users to share content with a limited group of their followers. It was developed as a result of the boom of "Finstagrams," which are separate private accounts that users create to share more personal and intimate content with friends.

Close Friends is a great addition to the Facebook-owned platform, especially as users today, try to find a balance between being connected with the rest of the world and having privacy. Close Friends gives users some control of their audience.

Additionally, the feature provides an interesting opportunity for brands, influencers, celebrities, and others with a digital presence on the platform. It could be a great way to curate a VIP-like fan base. For example, a brand like L.L. Bean can reward people who feature the brand’s products in their posts by adding them to the Close Friends List and then sharing exclusive promo codes and special discounts. As for influencers and celebrities, they can utilize the feature by adding a paywall for exclusive content. They could have their followers pay a fee via a third party app such as Venmo or PayPal along with their usernames. These Influencers and celebrities could then add them to their Close Friends List and share exclusive content that they aren’t sharing with the general public.

Overall, I really like the Close Friends feature and can see Instagram expanding it to other aspects of the app especially the Feed, which seems like the most obvious.

Close Friends is now available for iPhone and Android devices with the latest version of Instagram.

SOURCE: Instagram Press