One of the best things about social media has always been the endless opportunities it offers that let you to sleuth your way through the virtual world like an undercover spy. Now, many social media sites are making things a lot more transparent, and it's not necessarily better. Instagram is testing a new follow feature that could put all of your undercover scrolling to an end, Teen Vogue reported. The online insta-rumor mill is buzzing about what the implications of such a feature could mean. Apparently the new feature would include a "follows you" icon so users can see who's checking out their snaps and stories. However, reports speculate that the feature will also notify people when you unfollow them.
Sometimes, you just can't stand to see one more Instagram post about a connection's baby/BAE/dog/houseplant, and you decide that your insta life would be better without this content. But, your "friends" really don't need to know that, do they? Historically, social media has been the one place where you don't have to have those awkward conversations. And, since you and those you follow aren't sitting in an actual room together, it's always been fairly easy to slip away without making things weird. If these rumors are true, those days are over.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter already have some levels of TMI technology that lets your followers see what you're doing. But, while annoying, Instagram has always made you manually scroll through your followers to see who they actually are. And, if someone decided to leave the party, no one was the wiser. But now, there's going to be a whole lot of this.
According to Design Taxi, the new Instagram follow feature is only available to Android users, but an iOS update is coming soon. "Until then, only some Instagram users will be able to know who follow them or not. The information is shown when you access someone’s profile and look under their bio where you can already see the ‘Followed by’ feature on some profiles."
Basically, the update will show you if an account you are looking at follows you, and it will invite you to follow that person back. Yahoo reported that "when you unfollow someone on Instagram in the future, the 'follows you' sign will disappear — making it more difficult to secretly hide them."
You probably follow a lot of people you don't actually know, and vice versa, so who cares, right? But, you likely also follow a lot of people you know IRL, and if you decide you can't handle one more food photo, and you unfollow them, they're going to know.
One way to stop seeing posts you don't care about, without unfollowing the person, is to stop liking those posts. However, if you have a friend who is obsessed with knowing who is liking their posts, they will likely notice your sudden lack of double taps.
Ever since Instagram did away with the chronological feed, you might notice that you see the same people, and same types of posts, over and over. If you're constantly liking dogs and druids, that's what Instagram prioritizes for you. Because, like your mom, Instagram wants to decide what's best for you despite what you actually want. If you stop giving the app that information, i.e. stop liking everything, your feed will change. The website Make Use Of reported that you can actually disable the chronological Instagram feed altogether if it's really driving you nuts.
This all seems like a lot of work just to avoid an awkward social media interaction. There's no doubt Instagram users who only follow people who follow them will embrace this new "follows you" feature. However, others who like to spy and scroll under the cover of anonymity are not going to love it. I guess you can't please everyone. But, making social media more like the real world removes one of it's most attractive features, the ability to escape from reality. RIP Instagram anonymity, 2010-2017.