Instagram deters deletion with reversible “archive” option

When Instagrammers don’t get enough likes or think their posts look boring, they sometimes impetously delete them. But they can later regret this common emergent behavior which also deprives Instagram of monetizable content and your history in images that could keep you locked into the service.

So Instagram is rolling out a new feature called “archive” that lets you hide any of your posts from everyone else, but keeps them safe for you to look at in private or restore to visibility.

We were alerted when Matt Navarra spotted the feature earlier today, and now Instagram confirms to TechCrunch that this is a new feature it’s testing.

Additionally, a spokesperson shared that “We’re always testing new ways to improve the Instagram experience”, and noted that the archive option creates a private space for personal viewing of old posts. The company will expand the availability of the archive option over the next few months as it continues to iterate on it.

To use the archive option if you have access, tap the “…” three-dots button on one of your posts and select to archive it. On your profile, in the top right corner you’ll see the encircled clock icon, which opens your archive where only you can see posts you’ve archived. From there you can restore their visibility to those who can see your profile.

The feature further addresses the problem Instagram realized last year: people think it’s only for the highlights of their life. To that end, Instagram copied Snapchat’s Stories feature to add an ephemeral sharing option. But deleting permanent Instagrams was always a one-way street.

Now if Instagrammers want to hide a post that didn’t perform well, manicure the look of the top posts on their profile, banish posts featuring an ex lover, or hide their creations for any other reason, the archive gives them the ability to bring them back from the dead later. It could be a boon to celebrities who want to take a break from social media but return eventually.

Archive is not quite like the Memories section of Snapchat where you can privately save photos and videos you capture. Yet both Memories and archive show Snapchat and Instagram are trying to walk a fine line between the comfort and playfulness of temporality, and the value and long-lasting engagement of permanence.