Instagram users warned about new setting that could accidentally expose secrets

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Instagram users are warning each other about a new feature that could accidentally expose your secrets.

The new update means that it is possible to see who else is in a person’s “close friends”. Until now, that information had been secret, and finding out who else is considered a close friend could potentially cause fallouts or other issues.

Instagram’s close friends tool lets people choose certain friends that they trust more, and place them in a list. Users can then share stories only to those friends, and they will be off limits to anybody else.

In a new update rolling out this week, however, Instagram now lets people share posts and reels with only their close friends. That opens it up from just Instagram’s stories feature.

That is potentially hazardous, however, since posts and reels include likes and comments. It means that anyone who sees a close friend post from a friend can now that anyone liking or commenting on that posts is also in a person’s close friends community.

It as an attempt to make the app feel more private. Instagram described close friends as a “pressure-free space to connect with ​​the people that matter most”.

“We hope this opens up more ways to be your most authentic self on Instagram while having more choices over who sees your content,” it said in its announcement.

But it has also led to numerous warnings from TikTok users and others that users should be aware that they might accidentally compromise their privacy in uploading such a post, and that they should be aware that they might be making their close friends list slightly more public.

The new close friends posts and reels are used by sharing a post as normal, and then clicking the “audience” button and choosing “close friends”. It will then only be shown to people in that close friends list and will be labelled with a green star icon to make that clear.

The close friends list is the same across stories, posts and reels. It can be edited by clicking onto your own profile, choosing the three lines in the top right and then selecting the “close friends” option.