- Instagram has started phasing out its Following tab, which let users see what their friends and acquaintances were liking and following on the platform.
- Since users noticed the tab has disappeared, they've taken to Twitter and Reddit to mourn the loss of a tool used for watching for signs of cheating partners, keeping tabs on crushes, and stalking the activities of celebrities.
- Some users have said they preferred the Following tab over the Explore page for discovering new content and accounts on Instagram thanks to who they follow.
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The Following tab on Instagram has started to disappear for some users, who have taken to social media to say just how unhappy they are that one of their favorite tools for stalking and spying on their friends is gone too soon.
Instagram confirmed earlier this week that it was getting rid of the Following tab — a feature showing the most recent liking and commenting activity of the people you follow — after it was first reported by BuzzFeed News' Katie Notopoulos. Instagram 's head of product, Vishal Shah, told BuzzFeed that users didn't "frequently" use the tab, and that many likely didn't even know it existed and was surfacing their activity to their friends.
However, take a quick look at Instagram users' response on social media to the loss of the Following tab, and you may get a slightly different impression. People have taken to Twitter and Reddit the mourn the tab's disappearance, and question what they're supposed to do without their favorite tool for quietly snooping on the antics of their friends, crushes, partners, celebrities, and everyone else they follow on Instagram.
For many, Instagram's Following tab has become a gold mine for keeping tabs — pun intended — on the not-so-secret actions of your friends when they think they're not being noticed. While your Facebook feed shows both your friends' posts and their real-time cyber-actions (liking statuses, commenting on photos, RSVPing to events, following pages), your Instagram homepage is a manicured feed of photos that the people you follow knowingly and purposefully publicize.
Meanwhile, the Following tab was the antithesis to that. Users are already mourning the inability to keep an eye on the types of photos and accounts that their partners are liking and following. Others are questioning how they're supposed to stay updated on the latest drama and gossip regarding their friends and coworkers. And celebrity stan accounts are racing to figure out how they can keep other superfans updated on the latest social media happenings of their favorite singers, actors, and influencers.
—Violet Benson (@Daddyissues__) October 8, 2019
—emma🇦🇷 (@king_kuwonu) October 8, 2019
—*₊˚. (@ghostinamani) October 8, 2019
—𝕭𝖊𝖞𝖍𝖞𝖚𝖓𝖌 (@yeehawgrandma) October 9, 2019
For other users, the Following tab was a better way to discover new content and accounts to follow than the Explore page, which is meant to do just that by surfacing posts you may like. Several users on the Reddit thread r/Instagram have lamented that their Explore pages are often full of curated content they really don't have an interest in, while their Following tab let them discover accounts that the people they follow also like — and are therefore more in line with their actual interests.
"I used that feature a lot to find other businesses like mine & to explore what my friends found interesting," one Reddit user wrote. "Not everyone is a stalker or uses Instagram for nefarious activity they want to keep hidden."