Instagram wants to make it easier to discover new content that’s relevant to your interests.
The social media giant will now allow users to follow specific hashtags, not unlike one would follow a friend or celebrity. The existence of hashtag following was first reported back in November, when it was discovered Instagram was testing the feature with select users.
To start, either search for a particular hashtag of choice or tap on one found in any post. Relevant hashtags and accounts will be displayed in your search results.
Tap on a hashtag you’re interesting in to open its dedicated page and tap the ‘follow button.’ From then on, you’ll begin to see top posts from that hashtag in your Instagram feed, as well as some of the latest stories associated with that hashtag in your stories bar. As with Instagram accounts, hashtags can be unfollowed at any time.
You can also see which hashtags other people are following by searching their profile. As with the friends you follow, this information will remain hidden to anyone but your followers if you set your account to private.
This isn’t the only new Instagram hashtag feature introduced this month. Last week, the company announced a new initiative that alerts users when they’re searching for hashtags associated with behaviour that is harmful to animals or the environment. Working with animal protection agencies, Instagram said it is looking to reduce the number of “wildlife selfies” — instances in which people remove animals from their homes to take pictures with them.