Instagram is getting a new feature that’s straight out of Facebook’s past.
The photo-sharing app, owned by Facebook Inc., will let people post information from apps directly to their Instagram Stories, which last for 24 hours. For example, while listening to a song on Spotify, someone would be able to tell their Instagram friends what title or album it is. People will also be able to directly share action shots from their GoPro apps.
In 2012, Facebook announced Open Graph, a feature that automatically posted songs you’re listening to, stories you’re reading and other activity, directly to your Facebook feed. Users didn’t love the forced transparency, and Facebook stopped pushing it a couple of years later. Now the company is taking a different tack with one crucial difference — letting users pick when they post, instead of having it happen automatically.
Historically, Instagram hasn’t let users share much from the outside world. Hyperlinks don’t even work, except in profiles. That was a conscious choice from the company’s founders, who wanted to make sure that everything posted on the app was a reflection of what a user created, not what they curated from others. It helped Instagram avoid some of Facebook’s problems, like viral fake news.
Stories is a part of the app where Instagram is, increasingly and intentionally, breaking its own rules. Within Stories, Instagram already allows sharing of news stories, for example. And now, with direct-sharing from applications, people won’t have to screenshot their Spotify playlists in order to post them.
Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg says that Stories — a feature invented by Facebook’s smaller competitor, Snap — will be an increasingly important part of the company’s future. So far, Stories are the most popular on Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook’s chat app.