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Instagram now lets you follow hashtags in your feed, instead of people: Here's how to do it

The Facebook-owned photo service Instagram has just introduced a new feature which will allow users to follow hashtags, just like you follow Instagram accounts.

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The Facebook-owned photo service Instagram has just introduced a new feature which will allow users to follow hashtags, just like you follow Instagram accounts.

Instagram mentioned in a blog, “Today we’re introducing the ability to follow hashtags, giving you new ways to discover photos, videos and people on Instagram. Now it’s even easier to stay connected with the interests, hobbies, passions and communities you care about.”

Here’s how it works

To get started, you can search for a topic you are interested in or tap on a hashtag from any post. You will see relevant hashtags displayed in your search results along with related accounts. When you find a particular hashtag you are interested in, open the hashtag page and tap on the follow button. You will then begin seeing top posts from that hashtag in your feed and some of the latest stories in your stories bar. You can always unfollow a hashtag at any time too.

In an effort to find hashtags you might like, you can check out the hashtags other people follow in their profiles. However, if you set your account to private, the hashtags you follow will only be visible to your followers.

Additionally, Instagram is also testing a new standalone messaging app that will replace the current inbox, which is referred to as Direct. The app is available on Android and iOS in six countries - Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. This will be the company’s third chat tool alongside the popular WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Instagram Vice President Kevin Weil announced the plan via a tweet and said, “With hundreds of millions of people using Instagram Direct, today we're announcing a test of a standalone Direct app. It's fast, visual, and super fun. Only in six countries to start but can't wait for you all to try it.”

In terms of functionality, the Direct app will open the camera in the same way Snapchat does. It features a number of filters, none of which are currently available within Instagram Stories. Also, if you install Direct, the inbox disappears from the Instagram app and can only be accessed in the messaging app respectively.

Parent company Facebook followed the same suit in 2014 when it launched Messenger and eliminated private messaging from its mobile app. In April this year, Instagram reportedly had 375 million users.

 
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