It feels like it was just yesterday when a new photo app by the name of Instagram had made its way onto the App store, followed by much user fanfare surrounding a feature called filters. This was around the time smartphone cameras were improving, and selfies were becoming popular. The appeal of filters was simple: it allowed users to make even mundane selfies look like they were retouched by a Photoshop wizard. To most, this was groundbreaking, even if the app itself had very limited functionalities as opposed to rivals like Facebook.
This week, Instagram celebrates its tenth birthday after many years of success. It originally launched on October 6, 2010, a few months after the release of the iconic iPhone 4. The history of Instagram is an interesting one, where the company did not find overnight success, but rather built it over time, through industry connections and word of mouth. This continued until 2012, where Facebook had realized the app’s potential and decided to buy it for $1 billion, outbidding Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who had been an early adopter and supporter of the app.
To celebrate its birthday, Instagram is releasing a handful of new features, including a secret new Easter egg that we will explain in a bit.
Chiefly among the new features is something Instagram calls “Stories Map,” which is essentially a private map and calendar compiling all of your supposedly-perishable Stories from the past three years into a timeline and map, as reported by TechCrunch.
Additionally, Instagram is releasing two new features to reduce negative interactions, including bullying and harassment, in the app’s comments. The first feature utilizes an algorithm to assess whether a posted comment is offensive or abusive in line with others that have been reported, and opts to hide it. Users can still view the this controversial feedback under a “View Hidden Comments” section, but they’ll have to purposefully click to see them. This gives people the freedom to decide whether they want to read abusive comments or not.
A second feature is “comment warning,” which includes a warning that triggers for users when they repeatedly attempt to post potentially offensive comments, reminding the user not to propagate hate on the platform. This feature was first launched in 2019, but is being expanded on now by introducing a second warning to users.
As for the hidden new Easter egg Instagram has included as part of its birthday celebration, it involves being able to change the app icon on your phone to new colorful versions, or even to throwback legacy versions like Instagram’s original app icon from 2010.
9to5Google illustrates below how you can find this new feature on iOS and Android.
Note however that this will only be available in October. So far, it’s not working for everyone, as it doesn’t seem that it has been rolled out to all regions just yet.
Instagram is also expanding its Shopping feature to IGTV, which lets content creators sell products depicted in their videos, for example. It is also planning to test this on Reels, the recent feature it debuted to rival TikTok.
Finally, Instagram also revealed some new statistics:
- 900 million emoji reactions are sent within the app each day
- 50% of Instagram users watch a video in-app every day
- KPOP is the No. 1 most-discussed music genre among IG users
- More than a million posts mentioning “meme” are shared daily
- The average user sends 3x more DMs than comments
They did not, however, reveal their revenue or user figures, which Bloomberg believes is tied to the antitrust allegations parent company Facebook is facing right now.