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Instagram following tab feature deleted, to mixed reviews

If you enjoyed seeing what your friends are liking on Instagram from day to day and the comments people are leaving on Jennifer Aniston’s posts, say goodbye to this privilege. 

Instagram has decided to remove the “following” tab, which shows the activity of the accounts you follow — the posts they like, the comments they leave and who they follow. 

This feature was introduced in 2011 and allowed users to snoop on their friends, crushes and favorite celebrities. It was an easy way to catch your friend or partner liking posts on Instagram but not responding to your texts. Now, users will have to do without it.

Instagram sought to keep the application simple with this move. Instagram's Head of Product Vishal Shah said the feature wasn’t popular among users, according to Buzzfeed News. It wasn’t serving its purpose because users didn’t always know about it, he said. 

There are a variety of opinions surrounding this new update, as it poses the question of whether people online prefer privacy over having their activity displayed. It may ease people’s fears about monitoring their likes or being watched by their followers in general. 

Madison Moras, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, weighed in on the topic.

“I don’t really mind the decision to remove the following tab because sometimes the idea of someone being able to snoop around and see what posts I’m liking is a little weird,” she said.

This seems to be a common opinion among Rutgers students. The idea of someone stalking your activity on Instagram is a little unnecessary and invasive. 

“I never really used the feature anyway, so I don’t view it as a loss. If anything, I think it’s good because it basically got rid of a feature that I don’t need or use, that was also a bit creepy,” said Eleanor Meli, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. This follows Instagram’s statement that people weren’t using the feature that frequently.

But, social media posts say differently. Many people took to Twitter to express their disapproval for the removal of the following tab. They passionately expressed how upset they were about not being able to monitor what their partners are liking and keep tabs on important gossip between coworkers. 

This also caused dismay to celebrity fan accounts, who enjoy documenting interactions between their favorite celebrities and influencers. A Twitter user wrote, “How am I supposed to find quality Harry Styles updates accounts now!”

People also argue the following tab was also a way for them to discover new interests based on what their friends liked and followed. But, the explore page, which is content tailored to an individual’s interests based on their activity, offers the same opportunity.

Moras brought up that the explore page also shows posts that people already liked if it's of similar interest.

Despite this, the general discontent over the following tab’s removal goes to show how much social media users value the ability to lurk on the pages of their friends, coworkers and public figures. It speaks to the fascination we have with other people’s lives. 

This may mean people are willing to sacrifice privacy and anonymity for the ability to check on the online activity of others. 

On one hand, a variety of Instagram users valued the following tab to stalk whomever they liked. But on the other hand, users expressed concern over people watching what they liked and said it left a creepy impression. 

Regardless, people can stop worrying about creeps seeing what they’re liking on social media, while the rest of the population will have to find other ways to make use of their time.

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