Instagram, one of the largest social media platforms in the world, is finally exploring the option to provide users with the ability to conceal the “seen” status of their messages. This development marks a significant departure from Instagram’s longstanding practice of displaying read receipts and aligns with the broader trend seen on many other messaging platforms. The move was announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s Head, Adam Mosseri, through their Instagram Broadcast channels. In this news piece, we delve into the details of this upcoming feature, its potential benefits, and the lingering questions surrounding its rollout.
The New Feature and How It Works?
Adam Mosseri shared an image demonstrating how this new feature will function. Users will find the option to hide read receipts under the “Privacy and Safety” tab, which can be accessed by clicking on the recipient’s name within the chat. Within this tab, a section labeled “Who can see your activity” will be visible. To enable this feature, users can simply toggle the switch, making their read receipts private. Once activated, others will no longer be able to see if a message has been read. However, it’s important to note that messages sent in vanish mode will still display read receipts, maintaining a level of transparency for ephemeral chats.
Implications and Remaining Questions
The decision to implement this feature is expected to be well-received by Instagram users, as it allows for more control and privacy in their messaging interactions. There are numerous scenarios where users may prefer to keep their read status concealed. For instance, when receiving a message with a video and being unable to watch it immediately or when users simply don’t wish to respond at the moment. This feature empowers them to engage with messages on their terms, without the pressure of instant acknowledgment.
However, several key questions remain unanswered. Instagram has not disclosed a specific timeline for when this feature will be made available to all users or provided details on the exact nature of the testing process. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether users will have to individually enable or disable this feature for each contact, or if there will eventually be a global setting that applies to all conversations.
This move by Instagram follows in the footsteps of Meta-owned WhatsApp, which has allowed users to hide read receipts since 2014. Messenger, another Meta platform, still automatically displays when a message is viewed. While this development represents a positive step toward enhancing user control and privacy, it remains to be seen how this feature will be received by the Instagram community and whether it will pave the way for similar changes across other Meta platforms. For now, users eagerly await the testing and rollout of this promising feature, which has the potential to significantly enhance their messaging experience on Instagram.