Instagram confirmed it’s running a test involving multiple account switching on iOS, following reports on Thursday from users who said they saw the feature go live in their app. The company would not speak to its further plans regarding a public rollout, but the news is promising. Last November, Instagram was testing the feature on Android with members of its Instagram beta test group. That it has now expanded those tests to another platform indicates the company is likely preparing to make account switching an officially supported feature in the future.
For casual Instagram users, the ability to switch between multiple accounts may seem like a minor thing. But for a large part of Instagram’s young adult community, the addition will have a much larger impact on how they use the service.
Today, many of Instagram’s teenage and 20-something users commonly create multiple accounts. They even have their own slang for this: ” “finstagram,” or “finsta” for short, stands for “fake Instagram account.”
This “finsta” account is a less polished, but ironically, more real version of their lives as told by photos. Their “rinsta” account, meanwhile, is the one they show to the world, where photos are carefully selected and edited to present a certain image. Finstas, meanwhile, are private, with access only given to a small group of friends. They may include things like funny but unattractive selfies, random stories from your day, drunk photos, inside jokes, and the like.
However, switching between accounts today is a pain – which is why a multiple account switching feature would be put to good use among this crowd, potentially increasing engagement with the Instagram app itself. And with the possibility of longer session times, Instagram has a chance to better monetize its user base – something that it’s increasingly focused on. In fact, also this week, the company extended its video ads to 60 seconds in order to attract TV ad dollars to its platform.
In addition to teens, those whose job it is to manage multiple Instagram accounts – like social media managers, for example – would also greatly benefit from the new feature.
According to the reports, those users who have been granted this most-requested Instagram feature would see the option appear in the app’s settings. To see if you have it, go to your Instagram profile page, click “Settings,” then look for the “Add Account” option.
The feature works much like it does on the Android beta. After enabled, you’ll be able to swap between accounts using a new selector that appears at the top of the screen on your user profile page. Push notifications will also indicate which account they’re associated with.
Reached for comment, an Instagram spokesperson offered the following, brief statement: “We are always testing new features within our community.” The company declined to say how many users were seeing the feature in their iOS app today.
Image credit, account switching: Latergramme