Sometimes scrolling through your social media feed is more of an anti-social activity than it is about striking up a real-time conversation with a friend.
On Thursday, Instagram released a new feature that’s going to make it a little more difficult to stay under the radar, as Instagram shared in a post on Thursday. Whenever you’re online, a green dot that screams “Hey, I’m online if you want to chat!” will now appear next to your profile picture in the direct message inboxes and Share menus of anyone you follow or you’ve ever direct messaged.
The green dot itself is new, but Instagram has incorporated statuses like “Active now” and “Active today” in users’ direct message inboxes since earlier this year. It’s a similar concept to what Facebook has done with its other two platforms: WhatsApp has the “Available” status and Facebook Messenger shows a green dot or a number within a green dot showing the amount of time since the user was on.
Thankfully, unlike Facebook’s other platforms, Instagram has a built-in way to disable this feature – to give you control and let you “hide your status altogether.”
Here’s how to turn off Instagram’s Activity Status and the green dot that blows your cover when all you want is some peaceful scroll time:
Right now, this is what you’ll see in Instagram: green dots next to people’s names in your direct messages inbox, and in your share menu. If the green dot hasn’t rolled out for you yet, you’ll still see statuses like “Active now.”
The Activity Status is only seen by people you have a direct message conversation with, or people you follow. You won’t see green dots for people who follow you or random other users unless you’ve direct messaged them in the past.
In order to disable all the green dots, click the Settings button on your profile.
Scroll down to the Privacy and Security section, and go into the Activity Status menu.
Here, there’ll be a single toggle option for “Show Activity Status.” Turning it off will remove both the green dot and any indication of when you were on Instagram last.
An important caveat is that disabling this also means you won’t be able to see everyone else’s status or know when they’re online; it’s all or nothing with this feature.
Your inbox will now look like it did pre-statuses: the user’s name next to the profile picture, and a preview of the conversation.
And of course, if you decide you must know if your friends are online at the cost of giving them the same information, there’s always the option to switch back. Just go through the process the same way you turned it off.
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