Instagram is testing a new feature that will notify users when the platform is experiencing an outage or technical issue. The notification will appear directly in users’ activity feeds. Instagram notes that it won’t send a notification every single time there is an outage, but if it sees that users “are confused and looking for answers,” it will determine if a notification would make things clearer.
The announcement comes as Facebook and its properties were hit with a lengthy outage last week on Monday and again briefly on Friday. The company explained that both outages were caused by configuration changes but were unrelated.
“Through conversations with our community and extensive research, we know how confusing it can be when temporary issues happen on Instagram. When they impact engagement or distribution, we also know that it can lead people to think that the problems are unique to them, based on what they post. That lack of clarity can be frustrating, which is why we want it to be easier to understand what’s going on, directly from us,” Instagram said in a blog post.
The new feature is a welcome addition to the app, as users will no longer have to wonder if the app isn’t loading because of an error on their end. Instagram is running the new test in the U.S. for the next few months. The company says it wants to start small with the feature and then expand it to more users if it makes sense to do so.
Instagram also announced that it’s launching a new feature called “Account Status” that will make it easier for people to know whether their account is at risk of being disabled. Instagram says the new tool will be a “one-stop shop to see what’s going on with your account.” If users think Instagram has made a mistake with a post of theirs that was removed, they can appeal by selecting the “Request a Review” option directly within the tool.
The company plans to add more information to this tool to give users a better sense of how their content is being distributed and recommended across different parts of the app. Instagram says it will share more information about these two new features over time.