It's happened to all of us. You're scrolling through Instagram and suddenly greeted by something that you wish you hadn't seen. Think your best friend liking their ex's old photos at three in the morning. Now, Instagram is saying goodbye to its "Following" tab, meaning the app won't snitch on you or your friends any longer.
Originally introduced in 2011, the Following tab was meant to show people new content the site. The tab does exactly what it sounds like: it shows you the activity of all the people you're following on Instagram.
This tab was developed before Instagram launched its Explore tab so it made sense at the time. You had to rely on what your friends were looking at to get suggestions of what to view and who to follow. However, times have changed.
While enough people knew about the Following tab to make jokes about it ruining relationships on Twitter, it doesn't seem that knowledge of its existence was universal. For those who either weren't aware or simply forgot, realizing that all of your friends could see your late-night likes wasn't exactly a welcome surprise.
“People didn’t always know that their activity is surfacing,” Vishal Shah, Instagram’s head of product, told BuzzFeed. “So you have a case where it’s not serving the use case you built if for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up."
Instagram first removed the tab for some users back in August leading to some confused users gathering on Reddit. According to BuzzFeed News, the Following tab will now be entirely phased out throughout this week.
This is just another addition in a series of changes that Instagram has made over the summer. In July, Instagram expanded its test to hide like counts to six additional countries: Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. The test first began in May with Canadian users but Instagram had their likes hidden by default.
Instagram hiding likes was a lot more controversial given how it could negatively impact influencers on the site. It seems, though, that nobody is really going to miss the Following tab all that much.
With it gone, you can go back to scrolling through your feed and liking photos in peace. You don't have to worry about anyone looking over your shoulder anymore.