Stories have taken off on Instagram since it first copied the feature from Snapchat. Instagram Stories had more than 400 million daily active users as of June, and Facebook executives including Mark Zuckerberg have said that they believe the ephemeral format will overtake News Feed as the preferred form of sharing. But, Instagram and other apps also have to contend with the fact that more and more social media users are keen to post updates within groups of their closest friends.
So, Instagram today is announcing that it’s adding a feature called “close friends,” that allows users to limit who sees their Stories. First, a user has to click on their profile, go to the side menu, and then create their close friends list — there’s no limit to how many followers one can add to the list. Then, when that person creates a Story on Instagram, they either have the option of sharing the Story with all of their friends, or just with the close friends list.
The users who have been added to someone’s friends list will then see a green ring around that person’s profile when one of their Stories is in the lineup at the top of their homepage. They’ll also see a green badge when they view the story.
Like public Stories, the ones sent just to close friends will be up for 24 hours, so it’s not exactly akin to the private group messaging features Instagram and Snapchat already have. While a user could limit who sees their Stories just by keeping a smaller follower count, the idea is that close friends will gives users the option to share more personal moments with a select group of friends, without having to chose to limit who follows them entirely on Instagram.
Instagram also added muting options earlier this year, so users already had the option to limit who they wanted to see News Feed posts and/or Stories from. Now, users have another tool that will give them more control over who they want to interact with and when.
The feature is rolling out globally, today, on the latest versions of Android and iOS.