After announcing new features for Stories last week, Instagram is now rolling out support for following hashtags. This capability has been hitting accounts over the last 24 hours and makes it easier for users to follow a specific topic or person they might have interest in.
The Verge reports that when a user decides to follow a specific hashtag, Instagram will use its algorithms to “pick and choose some of the highlights” from posts that feature that hashtag.
For example, if you’re a fan of gorgeous city pictures, you could follow the #NYC tag and see the top posts using that hashtag intermixed with your existing feed. To follow a hashtag, simply search for a topic and choose the “follow” button at the top, as seen in the above screenshots.
It’s a bold move on Instagram’s part to add posts from random accounts to a user’s feed, especially when it would seemingly be rather easy for posters to take advantage of the algorithms in an attempt to have their post reach as many users as possible. Instagram says, however, that it will work to ensure that users are not inundated with spam because of this new feature:
The fundamental tension there is, you build a product with a surface that gets popular, it’s a high target for spam,” says Mike Krieger, Instagram cofounder. “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.”
This feature was initially rumored earlier this month, but is now rolling out to all users. Instagram is a free download from the App Store.
Will you be using this feature to follow any hashtags, or would you prefer your feed stay exclusive to the accounts you follow? Let us know down in the comments.