Instagram testing private sharing feature

Photo-sharing service Instagram on Friday kicked off a small test for a new private-sharing feature. Called Favorites, it should roll out to all users over the next few months.

Instagram’s product lead Robby Stein told The Verge that they’ve been working on the new private-sharing feature for more than a year.

Privately shared content is denoted by a green Favorites badge on the post.

By hand-picking followers for the new Favorites section, users can easily create a more limited group of the closest friends with whom they can privately share posts and Story updates.

Anyone not in the Favorites list won’t be able to see your privately shared posts.

You’ll be able to browse all the non-ephemeral posts you’ve shared to your Favorites over time by tapping a new Favorites tab on your Instagram profile.

According to The Verge:

No one gets notified when you add or remove them to the list. They’ll know they’re your favorite only when they see a green Favorites badge at the top of your posts. They can’t request to be added to your list through the app.

And if you remove them from your Favorites, they lose access to all of your private posts. If they visit the Favorites tab in your profile, it will appear to be empty.

There is currently no way to share Instagram posts with select friends only.

You can set your Instagram account to private at any time to personally approve follow requests from a handful of your closest friends, but that approach has many flaws of its own.

According to Stein, people with private accounts often approve hundreds of follow requests due to social pressures and are using Instagram less as a result. “People are trying to hack Instagram to create smaller audiences, and we’re trying to recognize that,” said Stein.

It remains to be seen if Instagram Favorites will come to all users. Given they’ve been working on this feature for more than a year, I’ll be surprised should they decide to pull it.

Will you use the Favorites feature when it rolls out, and why?

Do chime in with your thoughts in the comments section!