Stories have taken off on Instagram since it first copied the feature from Snapchat. Instagram Stories had more than 400 million daily active users as of June, and Facebook executives — including CEO Mark Zuckerberg — have said they believe the ephemeral format will overtake News Feed as the preferred form of sharing. But Instagram and other apps also have to contend with the fact that more and more social media users are keen to post updates within groups of just their closest friends.
So today Instagram is announcing the addition of a feature called “close friends” that allows users to limit who sees their Stories. First, you need to click on your profile, go to the side menu, and then create your close friends list — there’s no limit to how many followers you can add to that list. Then, when you create a Story on Instagram, you will have the option of sharing the Story with all of your friends or with only those on the close friends list.
Users who have been added to your close friends list will see a green ring around your profile when one of your Stories is in the lineup at the top of their homepage. They’ll also see a green badge when they view the story.
Like public Stories, those sent just to close friends will be up for 24 hours, so it’s not exactly akin to the private group messaging features Instagram and Snapchat already have. While users could limit who sees their Stories just by keeping a smaller follower count, the idea is that close friends will gives users the option to share more personal moments with a select group of friends — without having to limit who follows them on Instagram.
Instagram also added muting options earlier this year, so users already had the option to limit who they wanted to see News Feed posts and/or Stories from. Now users have another tool that will give them more control over who they want to interact with and when.
The feature is rolling out globally today on the latest versions of Android and iOS.