Keep your Instagram usage a mystery.

By Sarah Yang
January 19, 2018
Prykhodov/Getty Images

We’re all guilty of stalking certain accounts on Instagram—whether it’s your ex, cute dogs, that blogger who always goes on amazing trips, the list goes on and on. The best thing about the social media platform is that the “stalk-ee” will never know that you’re looking through their whole feed (well, unless you accidentally “Like” a photo from two years ago, but that’s a whole other story). Until now. Instagram has a feature that might clue some people into your stalking tendencies in its direct messaging section.

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In a recent update, Instagram added a feature called “Show Activity Status” on accounts that will display when you were last on the app to people you are direct messaging. In messages threads, you’ll notice a status, like “Active 1h ago” or “Active Now.” It’s similar to read receipts on iMessage or the “Seen” feature on Facebook Messenger—it tells your friends that you saw their message. Sometimes this can lead to some drama or social stress, especially if you know that your friend has seen the message, but they haven’t responded, or vice versa. It might cause some resentment if you think your friend is ignoring you—or you might get in trouble for ignoring someone.

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It’s important to note that “Show Activity Status” only appears on direct messaging—your activity isn’t broadcast on your actual feed. This feature is currently automatically enabled, but there’s an easy way to turn it off. Go to Settings on the app, scroll down to “Show Activity Status,” and toggle it off. Once you turn off this feature, you won’t be able to see the activity status of whomever your DM-ing, too—which is only fair, right?

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