16th December 2022

POV: Instagram Notes and Candid Stories


Instagram has announced several new features this week aimed at giving users new ways to connect and share with friends on the platform. These updates include text only ‘Notes’ and a new ‘BeReal’ clone, called ‘Candid Stories’.

Details and Implications:

Instagram has a new suite of features it is rolling out designed to make it easier for users to keep up with their real-life friends and share with groups.

The first is Instagram Notes, which lets users communicate with each other using short posts of up to 60 characters comprised of only text and emojis. To leave a Note, users go to their inbox and select the followers they follow back or people on their Close Friends list. They can type a note and it will show at the top of their friends’ inboxes for 24 hours. Any replies will arrive as DMs. Notes are rolling out now to all Instagram users.

It’s an entirely different format to connect with friends outside of images and video for which the app is best known. However, Instagram is aware that more interaction is happening in private channels now, so it is looking for ways to tap into this behaviour shift. The company said: “During testing, we learned that people liked having a lightweight and easy way to share what’s on their mind and start conversations. From asking for recommendations to sharing what they’re up to, Notes give people a casual and spontaneous way to express themselves and connect with each other.”

Group Profiles is another new feature, giving users a new type of profile for sharing posts and Stories with friends – effectively creating a shared profile. Content shared this way will only appear to group members and is only posted to the Group Profile, not the individual user's profile. Group Profiles are being tested on a small scale in Canada, Chile and Taiwan. Collaborative Collections is another new feature, which provides a different way to collect interesting posts to share with friends. The concept is to allow a group to connect over a shared interest. Users can save posts they come across to a Collaborative Collection within a group chat or one-to-one DM conversations.

Instagram Stories also has a set of new features. Over the last few months, it has been testing Candid Stories, a BeReal style service. Candid Stories will prompt users once a day to share a candid image of what they are doing in that moment from their Stories camera. It is only visible to those who also share their own photo. Users who are not interested can turn off the notifications in settings. Meta is also testing Candid for Facebook Stories.

Finally, there is an update to the Add Yours feature in Stories that launched last year, encouraging others to take part in your trend by sharing their own take on it. An ‘Add Yours’ sticker and a new ‘Pass it on’ prompt to invite more people to participate are being added to drive more engagement.


Social media platforms are locked in a constant war of innovation to attract and keep the best creators and so keep users and their attention on the platform. Instagram’s attempt to become video-centric and its algorithm changes that resulted in users’ feeds being crowded with recommended content received backlash from users. However, with these new features centred on social sharing with friends, Instagram is refocusing its efforts on what people actually want from the app - to connect with friends.

Further Reading:

TechCrunch | Social Media Today | Adweek | The Verge |

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