Coronavirus

Instagram wants to help us help others thanks to a user's request

The updated AMA text in Stories is the latest in Instagram’s COVID-19-related updates.

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This morning Instagram changed the default text of the Stories question sticker to read “How can I help?” after a user requested the shift. Until now, the sticker’s default has always been “Ask me a question.”

Less than 12 hours later, the suggested change became a reality. Already the new sticker prompt has rolled out to users. Mosseri says he hopes the feature will be a small way for people to spread kindness and support. It's the latest in a string of varied Instagram updates that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From concept to live in half a day — Musa Tariq, head of global marketing at Airbnb Experiences, requested the feature last night on Twitter. He hoped that changing the prompt would help “spread more kindness in the world than most of us could ever dream of.”

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri responded quickly, despite not being tagged in the tweet: “I like it.” Facebook’s Global CMO Antonio J. Lucio (who was tagged in the tweet) swiftly co-signed interest in the initiative:

Instagram is ready to adapt — With stay-at-home measures in place across most of the world, everyone has more time than ever to scroll through their feeds and post ridiculous memes to their Stories. So it’s no wonder Instagram is capitalizing on that time by introducing new features.

The largest of these updates is Co-Watching, which allows users to video chat with up to five other people while they browse the app.

One of the most-used new features thus far is the “Stay At Home” sticker, which links to a shared Story. In the week and a half since the sticker’s introduction, it’s been used millions of times to document the self-isolation lifestyle.

Promoting artists, quashing lies — Instagram has also been helping artists and creators promote their live-streamed events. This kind of publicity is invaluable for performers who are currently out of work.

The company has also taken measures to curb the spread of misinformation related to COVID-19 on the platform. Instagram now reminds users where to find credible info and hides coronavirus-related accounts from the Explore page.

Instagram’s latest slew of updates has made mostly minimal changes to the platform. But the new features are a nice distraction from the state of the world right now. And it’s great to know the company is listening to its users and willing to actually act on good suggestions.