What just happened? Instagram is killing off a lesser-known feature that’s often the cause of relationship friction. The “Following” tab lets users see all the photos their friends Like and comment on, along with who they added to their followers, but it’s going away this week.
Accessible via the app's heart icon, the Following tab sits alongside the “You” tab, which shows all new Likes, comments, and follows for your own account.
While the Following tab could be useful for discovering new accounts that your friends follow, it also had its drawbacks. Beyond being a bit stalky, it’s an easy way to find out if someone in a relationship has been Liking a high volume of other people’s (often Instagram models) raunchy posts.
Instagram Head of Product Vishal Shah told Buzzfeed that a lot of users don’t even realize their Likes and comments can be seen in the section and that only a small number of people access it on a regular basis.
"People didn't always know that their activity is surfacing," Shah said. "So you have a case where it's not serving the use case you built if for, but it's also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up." He added that "Simplicity was the driving factor."
Instead of the Following tab, Instagram wants people to turn to the Explore tab for discovering new content. The feature surfaces accounts it thinks you might be interested in without showing other people’s activities.
Back in 2017, Instagram parent Facebook removed a similar feature from its site: the ticker. The feature showed friends’ activities on the social network, and doubtlessly caused some arguments, too.