You can now follow specific hashtags in your main Instagram feed

Instagram announced this morning that the ability to follow specific hashtags from the main feed is now available to users of its mobile app for iPhone.

Following a hashtag is an easy way to stay on top of the specific photos, videos and people on Instagram that may interest you. Hashtags bring together posts dealing with particular interests, hobbies, passions, communities and other topics you care about in one place.

You can follow a hashtag just like you would a friend.

Begin by searching for a topic in your feed that you happen to be curious about. You can also tap a hashtag from any post to reveal relevant hashtags and accounts in search results.

From the hashtag page, simply tap the Follow button and you’re good to go.

Upon following a hashtag, Instagram chooses some of the highlights from posts that feature that hashtag and surfaces them in your feed. Furthermore, some of the latest Stories specific to that hashtag may pop up in the Stories bar at the top of the screen.

The Verge explains that hashtag posts are differentiated from normal posts by a prominent button shown above them. Tap it to reveal hidden options for liking or disliking. Disliking a hashtag post helps the Instagram algorithm adjust to the topics you care about without requiring that you completely unfollow that hashtag.

Previously, you could find hashtags via the Explore tab, but couldn’t like or dislike them.

Wait, won’t hashtag following also increase spammy posts on the popular photo-sharing service? In a word, no. According to Mike Krieger, Instagram cofounder:

The fundamental tension there is, you build a product with a surface that gets popular, it’s a high target for spam,. We will look at signals on both the posting side and the consumption side. Since we know the tap-through rate, the follow-through rate, the scroll-through rate, we can start saying, ‘this was a bad insertion’ and down-ranking it.

You can, of course, unfollow a hashtag at any time.

And lastly, any hashtags you follow respect your privacy settings—if you set your account to private, the hashtags you follow will only be visible to your followers.

Instagram is a free download from App Store.

How do you like this new feature?

Tell us in comments!