In the coming weeks, Instagram users will have another way to control which posts they want to see in their feed and when, thanks to the introduction of a new mute feature.
Users already had the option to mute an account in Instagram Stories. Now, users will also have the ability to mute posts from an account so that the photos and videos don’t appear in their feed. They’ll still get notified about comments or posts they’re tagged in from the muted account.
The idea is that muting allows users to more easily take a break from certain content, as users can’t see that they have been muted by a follower. (Users can see if someone has unfollowed them, which could put the individual on the receiving end of some vitriol.)
At F8 this year, Instagram unveiled a bullying filter that “hides comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health.” Last week, CEO Kevin Systrom also confirmed a TechCrunch report that the company was building a “usage insights” feature that would show users how much time they’re spending on the platform.
“Understanding how time online impacts people is important, and it’s the responsibility of all companies to be honest about this,” Systrom tweeted, adding that any time users spend on Instagram should be both “positive and intentional.”
Instagram didn’t tie the new mute option to either of these initiatives. But it’s clear that the company’s product focus in 2018 — at least for the first five months of the year — has been to introduce features that make users feel more in control of what they see on Instagram.