Instagram Close Friends – the new Stories feature explained

Instagram has announced its latest feature called Close Friends. An extension of Stories it gives users the option to build a small group of friends with whom they can share more intimate posts.

The problem with Stories is that they are broadcast to everyone who follows you. That means that anyone can see what you’re posting. Fine for most things, but not so good for staying in touch with your real friends.

Close Friends is designed to keep you in touch with people you actually care about. Sort of a big group chat, but for broadcasting to your BFFs.

Instagram’s goal is to encourage friends to use its direct messaging feature to carry on the conversation once they’ve posted. The company told us that it’s seen massive growth with people messaging on the platform and this will help with that.

How do I get the new Close Friends feature

Instagram will roll the feature out today. You may need to update your app to get access to it so check your app store to see if there’s a new version.

How to use Instagram Close Friends

To get started you’ll need to make a list of people you’d like to send more personal posts to. This can be found in your settings menu, there’s a whole new option called "Close Friends list".

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When you tap it you’ll be able to add people to your group, these are the only people that will be able to see your posts.

You can add people and remove them at any time. They won’t ever be told about their status on your list. Lists of close friends are also private, so no one can pry or get cross because they’re not included.

How to I post a message to my Close Friends

Start a Story as you usually would, as you’re creating you’ll notice a new button on screen. A green circle with a star in the middle allows you to share with your Close Friends, a separate button publishes to your public Story.

How can I tell if I’m someone’s close friend?

When you are included in a Close Friend group you’ll see Stories in the usual way. However posts made only to close friends are surrounded by a green ring, not the Instagram colours as Stories are.

Are Close Friends Stories private?

Kind of, yes. This isn’t a private messaging service like WhatsApp though, so you should assume that while these messages are hidden from the public feed, they aren’t hidden from Instagram staff, for example.

So while sharing news and events with friends is fine, it’s probably inadvisable to post things that are top secret.

Can I post anything in a Close Friends Story?

Instagram’s normal rules apply. However, because these posts aren’t public they won’t be monitored like the rest of Instagram. Think of it more like a direct message.

That means you could technically post nudity, if you were so inclined. Someone in your close friends group would need to actively report this to Instagram for it to be removed.

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