Spying on what your friends do on Instagram is about to get a bit tougher. Beginning Monday, October 7, Instagram is removing the following Tab that serves as a detailed list of the likes and comments friends make on photos that aren’t your own. Parent company Facebook said that the Following tab is getting the ax as one of the features that “may be no longer useful for our community.” Just how useful the tab was is debatable, however.
The following tab is the second section in the Instagram notifications, along with the “You” tab that details the new likes, comments, and follows on your own account. The “Following” tab instead shares what the users you follow are doing on Instagram, from likes on a photo to comments and who they added to their follower list.
In theory, the tool could help users find new accounts to follow by seeing what the users they already follow interact with on the platform. Removing the tool, however, could likely be part of the company’s move toward a move private platform, since some users don’t even realize how easily accessible every like and comment they make is. Because the heart section defaults to the You tab, the Following tab is more hidden.
Instagram Head of Product Vishal Shah told BuzzFeed News that users don’t always realize that their likes and comments show up there. Digital Trends’ staff know more than a few couples who got into spats over the evidence in the Following tab since it’s easy to see just how many saucy photos your friends are interacting with.
“We’re always working to make Instagram the best space to connect with the people and things you love,” a Facebook spokesperson told Digital Trends. “While this includes introducing new features, it also means removing old ones that may no longer be useful for our community. Starting today, we will begin removing the ‘Following’ tab, which was previously accessible by pressing the heart icon and selecting ‘Following.’”
Besides the questionable privacy of the feature, the Following tab is now redundant with Instagram’s Explore tab. The Explore tab is designed to help users find new users to follow, without the creepiness of following your friends every like and comment.
Without the Following tab, the You tab will be renamed to “Activity.”