INSTAGRAM has come under fire over a new feature that broadcasts when you last used the app.
The feature is turned on by default, but it’s possible to turn it off and keep your Instagram usage private – just like before.
What is Instagram ‘Last Active’?
The new feature shows when you were last active on Instagram i.e. when you last used the app. Anyone you direct message and follow will be able to see when you were last online, which means only certain people will be able to see your status.
The feature should be live for anyone using app version 25 or later – so you probably have it if you’ve updated Instagram in 2018.
However, it seems that the new feature isn’t appearing for some users, even when the app has been updated as recently as version 28.
How to turn off Instagram ‘Last Active’
Fortunately, it’s really simple to turn off Last Active on Instagram.
First, head to your profile then go to the settings icon – a cog-wheel on iPhone or three vertical dots on Android – in the top right corner.
Then, scroll down to ‘Show Activity Status’ and tap the toggle-slider to turn the feature off.
It’s worth noting that if you turn off the status feature, it will stop people from seeing your status – but will also block you from seeing the statuses of other users.
Some people will feel fine about keeping it on, but the feature has sparked privacy concerns among users.
Twitter user @emilysarpietro slammed the new feature, saying “nothing’s private any more” and promising she would be “definitely coming off social media soon”.
Another Twitter poster said he was concerned over the safety of Instagram users by giving out so much information, saying the Last Active feature is “helping stalkers stalk their prey”.
We asked Instagram for comment on whether it thinks the feature should be turned on by default, and how it plans to address users’ privacy concerns.
A company spokesperson gave us the following statement: “We’re always working on ways to make it easier to have fun, real-time conversations with friends on Instagram.”
“We recently rolled out the ability to see when people you follow or message in Direct were last active on Instagram, and they can see when you were last active.”
“This only appears in the Direct inbox, and only the people you follow and send direct messages to can see your activity status. You can easily control the visibility of your activity status in Settings.”