Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo, and video-sharing social networking platform rolled out a new feature on July 19 which will highlight users who are currently online in the direct messaging box. The company will now show a green dot next to a user's name which will indicate that she/he is currently online on the app and hence may be available for text messaging. Earlier, Instagram displayed an 'active today' status under the name. However, the introduction of the green dot indicator will provide a real-time update.
The official Instagram blog stated, "When your friends are active on Instagram, you'll see a green dot next to their profile picture in various spaces within the app, including the Direct inbox and your friend list when you share a post from feed. You will only see status for friends who follow you or people who you have talked to in Direct. You can easily hide your own status and turn off the ability to see when your friends are active in your settings."
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger already have a similar feature. With the feature being incorporated into Instagram, all three popular social media platforms have become congruous with respect to this particular feature. Not everyone, however, will be able to see whether a user is online or not. Only followers with whom a user has exchanged direct messages will be able to see the 'active now' status, and vice-versa.
For those who are wary of displaying their status to other people, Instagram offers an option to turn off the feature by going to the settings. In order to do so, users have to go to settings and scroll down to the 'show activity status' option. By toggling this off, followers will no longer be able to see a user's online status. However, when the feature is disabled, the user won't be able to see other's status either.
Meanwhile, according to a change in policy, Instagram and Facebook have begun to crack down on underage users. The social media giants will now suspend the accounts of users who are suspected of being under the minimum age of 13. The 13-year-old minimum is mandated by the US Child Online Privacy Protection Act, which necessitates that digital companies obtain parental consent before collecting data about children.