Instagram Launches Checkout Feature to Let Users Store Payment Info for Quick Purchases

Instagram today is rolling out a new shopping feature within its iOS and Android apps, allowing users to complete purchases without having to leave Instagram (via The Verge).

Before the update, shopping links on Instagram opened up a pop-up web window on the retailer's site, which lacked stored payment information and likely caused many people to close the window. Now, Instagram users will be able to store their payment information in Instagram to use for many purchases on the social network.


In return, Instagram is charging all retailers a selling fee, but the amount of the fee wasn't disclosed. Checkout on Instagram is starting with around 20 brands, including Nike, Dior, H&M, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Uniqlo, Warby Parker, and Zara. More brands are said to be coming down the line.

Items eligible for the new feature will have a "Checkout on Instagram" button below their post. The first time that users tap this, they will be asked for a name, email, billing information, and shipping address. After the first order, the information is securely stored in Instagram.
Instagram hopes that allowing people to complete their purchases inside the app will inspire them to shop more — and to create a big new business for parent company Facebook, which has recently signaled that it expects commerce and payments to represent the future of the company.
According to Instagram, payment information stored in the app will only be used on Instagram, and not on Facebook. Instagram will also send notifications about shipment and delivery inside the app, to keep users updated on their orders.

Checkout on Instagram is rolling out in the social network's mobile apps starting today.


This article, "Instagram Launches Checkout Feature to Let Users Store Payment Info for Quick Purchases" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Mark Zuckerberg Plans to Make Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messaging, and WhatsApp Interoperable

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to integrate three disparate messaging services -- Facebook Messenger, Instagram messaging, and WhatsApp -- into one "underlying messaging infrastructure" (via The New York Times).

Facebook Messenger

These services will continue to operate as their own standalone apps, but the company's work will make them interoperable with one another. This means that a Facebook user could send an encrypted message to someone who only has a WhatsApp account, and vice versa. The company is still in the early stages of the unification, with plans to be finished by the end of 2019 or early 2020.

According to sources familiar with the plans, Zuckerberg's idea is the newest effort to keep people within the Facebook ecosystem, and off of rival texting apps like iMessage.
Mr. Zuckerberg has also ordered all of the apps to incorporate end-to-end encryption, the people said, a significant step that protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in the conversation.

By stitching the apps’ infrastructure together, Mr. Zuckerberg wants to increase the utility of the social network, keeping its billions of users highly engaged inside its ecosystem. If people turn more regularly to Facebook-owned properties for texting, they may forgo rival messaging services, such as those from Apple and Google, said the people, who declined to be identified because the moves are confidential.
In an official statement, Facebook said it's "working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks," alluding to the upcoming change. As of now, WhatsApp is the only one of the three main Facebook messaging apps to support secure end-to-end encrypted text messages, which ensures that texts are only read by you and the person you send them to.

This also raises privacy concerns for Zuckerberg's plans, since it's unclear how an end-to-end encrypted app would integrate with apps like Facebook Messenger. To sign up for WhatsApp, only a phone number is needed, but in contrast personal identities are the central part of apps like Facebook and Instagram, including their messaging services.
Today, WhatsApp requires people to register only a phone number to sign up for the service. By contrast, Facebook and Facebook Messenger ask users to provide their real identities. Matching Facebook and Instagram users to their WhatsApp handles could give pause to those who prefer keeping their use of each app compartmentalized.
In the wake of last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal, internal sources state that Zuckerberg has renewed his focus on WhatsApp and Instagram as the main Facebook brand was hit hard with negativity. In September, Bloomberg reported that Instagram was expected to soon become "more tightly integrated" with Facebook, in the wake of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger leaving Facebook.

WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton have also left Facebook for similar reasons. According to today's reports, employees are still clashing with Zuckerberg over the new shift in focus to WhatsApp and Instagram, with dozens of WhatsApp employees arguing with Zuckerberg over the upcoming messaging integration plan on internal message boards, as well as during a "contentious" staff meeting last month.

During this meeting, WhatsApp employees reportedly asked Zuckerberg why he was so focused on making the messaging services integration a priority for 2019. According to sources, his responses were "vague" and "meandering," and as a result several WhatsApp employees have left and more are planning to leave because of the plan.


This article, "Mark Zuckerberg Plans to Make Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messaging, and WhatsApp Interoperable" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Instagram Denies Limiting the Reach of User Posts

Instagram has moved to address rumors that it actively suppresses the reach of user posts on the social network.

In a statement posted on its official Twitter account, Instagram said that it has not made any recent changes to the way its feed algorithms work and that "we never hide posts from people you're following - if you keep scrolling, you will see them all."

Instagram explained that the order of posts in a feed is determined by the level of user interaction – in other words, like its parent network Facebook, posts on Instagram are organized by potential level of engagement rather than in chronological order.


Instagram adopted Facebook's algorithmic feed way back in June 2016. A study by Instagram itself found that before the algorithm was introduced, on average, users missed 70 percent of the posts on their feeds and 50 percent of the posts from their friends.

After the algorithm though, Instagram's users see 90 percent of their friends' posts. Given those figures, recent rumors that the platform have been limiting the reach of posts could just well be the result of some users not scrolling down far enough.


This article, "Instagram Denies Limiting the Reach of User Posts" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Netflix Debuts New Integration for Sharing Movies and TV Shows in Instagram Stories

Netflix today launched a new Instagram integration that's designed to allow Instagram users to share their favorite movies and TV shows in Stories, reports Variety.

The feature can be used by selecting a title of choice within the Netflix app for iOS devices, tapping on the "Share" icon, and then selecting "Instagram Stories" as an option.

"We're always on the lookout for ways to make it easier for members to share the Netflix titles they're obsessing about and help them discover something new to watch," said a Netflix spokesperson. "We hope our members enjoy this new feature!"
From there, Netflix opens up Instagram with a screen featuring the show's name and artwork, with an option to share it to Stories or send it to close friends.

Instagram has been allowing third-party apps to integrate with Stories since May 2018, and other integrations include Spotify and SoundCloud.


This article, "Netflix Debuts New Integration for Sharing Movies and TV Shows in Instagram Stories" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Instagram Now Lets Users Post to Multiple Accounts Simultaneously

Instagram is rolling out a new feature that allows posting content to multiple accounts at the same time. The social network confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is now rolling out to all users of its iOS app:

An Instagram spokesperson confirms this option is becoming available to all iOS users, telling TechCrunch, "We are rolling out this feature to provide a better experience for people who often post to multiple accounts."
The ability to select which accounts to simultaneously publish the same post to is being made possible through the use of simple toggles that appear when the New Post option is selected.

The new feature is likely to be welcomed by users who have multiple accounts for whatever reason (to separate content, for instance) but it's sure be a hit with marketing companies who manage various social accounts.

Whether users will be able to publish Stories to multiple accounts simultaneously is yet to be confirmed.


This article, "Instagram Now Lets Users Post to Multiple Accounts Simultaneously" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Instagram Briefly Tested New Horizontal Feed for Main Posts, Wide Rollout Was an Error

Instagram recently tested a new way for users to browse their feeds, with a feed that scrolled horizontally instead of one that scrolled vertically. This test hit enough users around the world to get "Instagram Update" and "#NewInstagram" trending on Twitter (via The Independent), but Matt Navarra has confirmed that it was just a test that was meant for a "very small" group of individuals.

Anyone who saw the update should see their feeds reverted back to vertical scrolling soon. With the update, users had to scroll through traditional Instagram posts in the same way that they browse through Instagram Stories: by tapping the right or left edges of the screen. This completely replaced Instagram's typical vertical list of posts that users would scroll through, which led to many frustrated responses to the update on Twitter.



Although not meant for a wide-scale rollout, the update was apparently an attempt to mimic the stories format for normal Instagram posts, since stories have quickly grown to become one of the most popular additions to Instagram following the feature's debut in 2016. Instagram Stories are now bigger than Snapchat, which is the app that originally created the idea of 24-hour disappearing stories.

Those who got the update saw a brief message: "Introducing a new way to move through posts. Tap through posts, just like you tap through stories." The Independent reported that a massive number of users in the United Kingdom received the update on Thursday afternoon.


Discuss this article in our forums

Latest Instagram Update Breaks Support for iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max Screens

Multiple reports are coming in that Instagram has lost support for iPhone XR and XS Max screen resolutions in the latest update to its iOS app.

The issue has been highlighted on Reddit and Twitter after Instagram users updated to the latest version (75.0), which was pushed to the App Store on Wednesday.

Instagram v74.0 (left) versus v75.0 (Image via @Wsig)

The resulting effect is that the Instagram interface looks as if it's been zoomed in, leading users to complain about blown out images, fuzzy text, abnormal spacing of icons and other graphical elements.

The issue isn't turning up for iPhone XS users who have updated the app, presumably because it shares the same resolution as the 2017 iPhone X. Instagram added support for the new iPhone XR and XS Max screen resolutions in October.


This is almost certainly an accident on Instagram's part, so it's likely to be fixed in the next update. iPhone XR and XS Max users who are experiencing the issue are advised to hold tight, and anyone who hasn't updated to v75.0 should probably wait until the next version is released.

We've reached out to Instagram to find out when that might be and will update this article if we learn more.

(Via Tehnot.com)


Discuss this article in our forums

Instagram Launches ‘Close Friends’ List for Sharing Stories

Instagram today announced the launch of a new Stories feature called "Close Friends" that allows you to share stories with a select group of people rather than all your followers.

Starting today, you can make a close friends list on Stories and share with just the people you've added. Instagram Stories has become the place to express yourself and share everyday moments, but our community has grown and sometimes what you want to share isn't for everyone. With Close Friends, you have the flexibility to share more personal moments with a smaller group that you choose.
The feature works through follower suggestions based on who you interact with most, or via a contact search, from which you can then build the list for sharing Stories with fewer people.

You can find the list by going to your Instagram profile and tapping Close Friends in the side menu. When you go to share a Story, a new option appears to share it with only the people on your close friends list.

It's worth noting that Close Friends is a private list, so other users can't see it in your profile or request to be added to it, so you can switch up your selection at any time without the risk of retaliatory unfriending.

The only indication that your part of someone's Close Friends list is that you'll see a green badge when viewing stories shared to the list. There's also a green ring around the user's profile in the Stories tray.

As TechCrunch notes, the feature plays on the idea of "Finstagrams," or fake Instagram accounts that teens sometimes create to share posts to select friends without having to worry about about being judged by their wider peer group.

This latest addition to the Facebook-owned photo-based social network comes at a time when more and more people are moving from Facebook, which has come in for sustained criticism for its poor user privacy safeguards as well as a perceived lack of effort to protect user data, combat social media addiction, and prevent the spread of fake news.

Close Friends is rolling out globally today on the latest version of the Instagram app for iOS. [Direct Link]


Discuss this article in our forums

Instagram to Test Redesigned User Profiles Over the Coming Weeks

Instagram says it is testing new layout designs for user profiles over the next few weeks that will make them easier to use and better at helping people connect with each other on the social network.


The company announced the upcoming changes on its official blog, explaining that it would experiment in phases with various profile combinations and listen to user feedback:
Over the next several weeks, you may see features re-arranged at the top of your profile including changes to icons, buttons and the way you navigate between tabs, which we hope will make profiles easier and cleaner to use. The photos and videos you've shared on your grid won't change.
The images above provided by Instagram demonstrate the types of changes that users can expect to see in their own and other users' outward-facing profiles. For example, profile bios are shown sitting alongside profile pictures, while the Follow and Message buttons are lined up together below them.

Interestingly, the screens also show profile designs in which follower counts are less prominent, a move that Twitter also recently made to its iOS app in an effort to prioritize "meaningful" conversation over retweets, follows, and likes.


Discuss this article in our forums

Instagram Testing Tap-to-Advance Instead of Scrolling Through Posts

Instagram is testing a new way of navigating through posts – by tapping through them, just like users tap through Stories.

The new navigation system sees users tapping the sides of the screen instead of scrolling up and down with their finger to advance forwards and backwards between posts, which can get tiring after a while.



It also means users always see media full-screen rather than having to adjust the view with a finger scroll to see the entire post. It's a navigation method that was first used by Snapchat, a platform Instagram isn't shy of taking cues from.

Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it is testing tap-to-advance in the Explore tab with a small number of users, who were presented with a pop-up in the app explaining the change.

As for whether the system could be adopted for the main feed, a spokesperson for Instagram said that wasn't something it was actively thinking about at the moment.


Discuss this article in our forums