Instagram has a shady new feature, but you can disable it

After learning how to disable iPhone read receipts, we thought we were safe from people knowing whether we’ve seen their messages. But this new shady Instagram Direct feature is compromising our social media privacy. Luckily, like read receipts, this feature can easily be disabled.

On January 17th, Instagram released a new “status activity notification” in the app’s Direct feature. This update will allow users to see when other people were last active on Instagram. Via the Direct feature, Instagram now tells users how long ago a person was on the app — “Active 4 hours ago,” “Active now,” “Active today,” etc.

Similar to the famous three dots in iMessage, you’re able to see when a person is responding to you in Direct. A small message appears that says “typing.” Or if someone has read your message and is choosing not to respond, you see the word “seen.” That one always hurts.

Instagram added this new status activity notification feature to improve communication. A spokesperson for Instagram told Refinery29,

"We’re constantly working on ways to make Direct the best place to have fun, real-time conversations with friends. We’ve heard from our community that the ability to see when friends were last active helps them feel more connected as they go back and forth in Direct."


But as we know from our experience with read receipts, knowing someone’s activity status may actually cause more harm than good. So if you don’t want to be caught ignoring your friends and followers, or if you want to steer clear of realizing that you’re being ignored, head into your in-app Instagram settings (the gear icon on your profile).

Then, scroll down to “Show Activity Status” and toggle the option off. This makes your status invisible as well as your friends’ statuses.


Phew! Crisis averted.

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