Instagram’s Close Friends feature is expanding. Previously, users could share stories with a select group of people, rather than all of their followers, but now, users can also share main feed posts and reels exclusively to their Close Friends.
Before sharing a post or reel, users can tap an “audience” menu, then select their Close Friends list from there. Then, when it appears in Close Friends’ feeds, it will be denoted with a green star icon, similar to how Close Friends stories show up with a green ring around them.
Users’ Close Friends lists will remain consistent across all kinds of posts, whether they’re stories, reels, feed posts or notes. On stories, when someone replies, it functions like a DM to the poster, which is already private. But when a user likes or comments on someone’s Close Friends post or reel, it will be visible to anyone else in the Close Friends circle.
This feature was spotted during testing in September, but will now roll out officially. It’s good timing for the expansion, now that X has discontinued its Close Friends-like Circles feature, which also allowed users to post to a smaller, curated audience. With the success of new social apps like BeReal, mainstream apps like Instagram have been looking to feed users’ desire to be more authentic online.
“We know our community already uses Close Friends as a pressure-free space to connect with the people that matter most,” Instagram said in its announcement. “We hope this opens up more ways to be your most authentic self on Instagram while having more choices over who sees your content.”
For creators, the Close Friends feature opens another potential revenue stream — while some already use third-party apps to sell subscriptions to their Close Friends stories, now, creators have the potential to monetize exclusive Instagram content beyond their ephemeral Close Friends story.