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In 2012 Instagram introduces a new feature Explore, a tab inside that displays popular photos, photos taken at nearby locations, and searches. It is one of the common and most used features of the Instagram old version 2021 apk download.
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In February 2021, Instagram began testing a new feature called Vertical Stories, said by some sources to be inspired by TikTok. The same month, they also began testing the removal of ability to share feed posts to stories.
In March 2021, Instagram launched a new feature in which four people can go live at once. Instagram also announced that adults would not be allowed to message teens who don't follow them as part of a series of new child safety policies.
On October 4, 2021, Meta services suffered their worst outage since 2008, bringing down Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Security experts identified the problem as possibly being DNS-related.
On June 17, 2021, Instagram launched full-screen advertisements in Reels. The ads are similar to regular reels and can run up to 30 seconds. They are distinguished from regular content by the "sponsored" tag under the account name.
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In June 2021, Instagram launched a native affiliate marketing tool creators can use to earn commissions based on sales. Commission-enabled posts are labeled "Eligible for Commission" on the user side to identify them as affiliate posts. Launch partners included Sephora, MAC, and Kopari.
In April 2016, Instagram began rolling out a change to the order of photos visible in a user's timeline, shifting from a strictly chronological order to one determined by an algorithm. Instagram said the algorithm was designed so that users would see more of the photos by users that they liked, but there was significant negative feedback, with many users asking their followers to turn on post notifications in order to make sure they see updates. The company wrote a tweet to users upset at the prospect of the change, but did not back down, nor provide a way to change it back, which they re-affirmed in 2020. However, in December 2021, Adam Mosseri, in a Senate hearing on child safety issues, stated that the company is developing a version of the feed that would show user posts in chronological order. He later clarified the company would introduce two modes: a classic chronological feed and a version of it that would let users pick "favorite" users whose posts would be shown at the top in chronological order while other posts would be mixed in below.
On June 23, 2021, Instagram announced a test change to the "suggested posts" feature. The company will put suggested posts ahead of posts from people who the user is following in the Instagram feed, citing positive reception as the reason for this change.
Facebook has known for years that its Instagram app is harmful to a large number of teenagers, according to research seen by The Wall Street Journal, but the company concealed the knowledge from lawmakers. The internal Facebook presentations seen by the Journal in 2021 show that Instagram is toxic to a sizable percentage of its users, particularly teenage girls. More than 40% of Instagram's users are under 23 years old. The presentations were seen by the company's executives and the findings mentioned to Mark Zuckerberg in 2020, but when asked in March 2021 about Instagram's effect on young people, Zuckerberg defended the company's plan to launch an Instagram product for children under 13. When asked by senators for its internal findings on the impact of Instagram on youth mental health, Facebook sent a six-page letter that did not include the company's research. The company told Forbes that its research is "kept confidential to promote frank and open dialogue and brainstorming internally." In a blog post, Instagram said that the WSJ story "focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light." On September 27, 2021, weeks after the WSJ report was released, Facebook announced that it had "paused" development of Instagram Kids, the Instagram product aimed at children. The company stated it was looking into concerns raised by the regulators and parents. Adam Mosseri stated that the company would return to the project as "[t]he reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today." Based on Facebook's leaked internal research, Instagram has had negative effects on the body image of one in three teenagers. Leaked internal documents also indicate that two thirds of teen girls and 40 percent of teen boys experience negative social comparison, and that Instagram makes 20 percent of the teens feel worse about themselves. According to the leaked research, Instagram has higher impact on appearance comparison than TikTok or Snapchat. 13 percent of British, and 6 percent of US, teenager users with suicidal thoughts could trace them to Instagram use.
Khodarahimi and Fathi found evidence that Instagram users displayed higher levels of depressive and anxious symptoms compared to non-users. However, Frison & Eggermont 2017 found that, among both boys and girls, browsing could predict the presence of depressive symptoms; liking and posting seemed to have no effect. In addition, their study showed that the presence of depressive symptoms in a given user could positively predict that they would make posts. The study showed that the viewing of celebrity and peer pictures could make the moods of women more negative. In a 2021 study, Mun & Kim pointed out that Instagram users with a strong need for approval were more likely to falsely present themselves on their Instagram accounts, which in turn increased the likelihood of depression. However, depression was mitigated by the users' perception of their own popularity.
Mackson et al. 2019 found that Instagram users were less lonely than non-users and that Instagram membership predicts lower self-reported loneliness. A 2021 study by Büttner & Rudertb also showed that not being tagged in an Instagram photo triggers the feeling of social exclusion and ostracism, especially for those with higher needs to belong. However, Brailovskaia & Margraf 2018 found a significant positive relationship between Instagram membership and extraversion, life satisfaction, and social support. Their study showed only a marginally significant negative association between Instagram membership and self-conscientiousness. Fioravanti et al. 2020 showed that women who had to take a break from Instagram for seven days reported higher life satisfaction compared to women who continued their habitual pattern of Instagram use. The effects seemed to be specific for women, where no significant differences were observed for men. The relationship between Instagram use and the fear of missing out, or FOMO, has been confirmed in multiple studies. Research shows that Instagram browsing predicts social comparison, which generates FOMO, which can ultimately lead to depression.
Sanz-Blas et al. 2019 showed that users who feel that they spend too much time on Instagram report higher levels of "addiction" to Instagram, which in turn was related to higher self-reported levels of stress induced by the app. In a study focusing on the relationship between various psychological needs and "addiction" to Instagram by students, Foroughi et al. 2021 found that the desire for recognition and entertainment were predictors of students' addiction to Instagram. In addition, the study proved that addiction to Instagram negatively affected academic performance. Additionally, Gezgin & Mihci 2020 found that frequent Instagram usage correlated with smartphone addiction.
In October 2021, CNN published an article and interviews on two young women, Ashlee Thomas and Anastasia Vlasova, saying Instagram endangered their lives due to it having toxic effects on their diets.
In May 2021, The Washington Post published a report detailing a "black market" of unlicensed employment agents luring migrant workers from Africa and Asia into indentured servitude as maids in Persian Gulf countries, and using Instagram posts containing their personal information (including in some cases, passport numbers) to market them. Instagram deleted 200 accounts that had been reported by the Post, and a spokesperson stated that Instagram took this activity "extremely seriously", disabled 200 accounts found by the Post to be engaging in these activities, and was continuing to work on systems to automatically detect and disable accounts engaging in human exploitation.
On October 30, 2020, Instagram temporarily removed the "recent" tab on hashtag pages to prevent the spread of misinformation regarding the 2020 United States presidential election. On January 7, 2021, United States President Donald Trump was banned from Instagram "indefinitely". Zuckerberg stated "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great."
As of September 2022, Instagram was one of the last freely available global social media sites in Iran. Instagram is popular among Iranians because it is seen as an outlet for freedom and a "window to the world."Still, Iran has sentenced several citizens to prison for posts made on their Instagram accounts. The Iranian government also blocked Instagram periodically during anti-government protests. In July 2021, Instagram temporarily censored videos with the phrase "death to Khamenei".