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Instagram is about to get even more cliquey with ‘close friends’ feature

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Buckle up kids. Instagram is about to get even more cliquey. 

The app added a new “close friends” feature that will let you post Stories that are only viewable to a select group of your followers. What could go wrong, right?

Instagram first teased the feature, then called “favorites,” last year in response to the growing popularity of “finstas,” secondary, often secret, accounts that people use to share content within a smaller circle of friends.

Now, more than a year after it started testing the tool, it’s rolling out “close friends” to everyone. The feature, which will be in the latest version of the app,  allows you to specify whether you want all your followers to be able to view your Story or only the select few whom you’ve designated as “close friends.”

The update is likely to further complicate the already high-stakes social dynamics of Instagram accounts, particularly for teens, which popularized the “finsta” phenomenon in the first place.

You can see who has made you a "close friend" on Instagram by looking for the green badge in their story.

You can see who has made you a “close friend” on Instagram by looking for the green badge in their story.

The feature is also slightly reminiscent of Snapchat’s long-gone “best friends” feature (RIP), which let you view the top three friends of anyone you were connected with on Snapchat. That feature, which was fueled many breakups and internet lurkers, was discontinued in 2015.  

Unlike Snapchat’s ill-fated “best friends” though, you “close friends” on Instagram are not viewable by anyone else, though you can tell when someone else has made you their best friend. In this case, a green badge will appear on that person’s story indicating they’ve chosen you as a “close friend.”

Needless to say, this will likely cause a lot of drama and FOMO of its own. Can you even consider someone a real friend if they don’t choose you as their “close friend” on Instagram? On the upside, though, you might be able to finally ditch that finsta account. 

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