Instagram today announced a new way for users to tag their friends and other accounts, along with “Photos of You,” a new section of the profile that displays all the photos a user or brand has been tagged in.
The feature is similar to Facebook’s own photo tagging, where users can tap an area of a photo to add a person’s name. The person will be alerted and have the option to approve the photo before it goes on their profile. Previously, users could mention other users in the caption of their photos, but there was no way to clearly indicate who was in a photo and where. There also wasn’t a way to quickly access all the photos users themselves were in.
One difference from Facebook is that users can easily tag brand accounts. Facebook allows tagging of pages from desktop but never brought the feature to mobile, a missed opportunity since so many photos are uploaded from mobile devices. Instagram, with hashtags and now photo tagging, is closer to Twitter in being a platform for connecting with public figures, brands and people that users don’t know in person. Facebook on the other hand has struggled on this front in large part because there isn’t an easy way to tag non-friends or to notify those brands and public figures that they’ve been mentioned. Instagram’s all-private or all-public approach to privacy, like Twitter has, means it doesn’t have to deal with the same subtleties that Facebook does when it comes to these settings.
At the same time, the change today helps Instagram serve as a more complete social profile for people and brands, not unlike their profiles and pages on Facebook. Users can access photos of themselves or another account by tapping the button on the profile page, as seen below. This is available in the lastest iOS and Android versions of the app, though not on the web profile yet.
It’s worth noting that brands may have to begin putting time toward approving photo tags in order to manage their presence on the platform. Facebook says all users will have until May 16th to test the feature before their “Photos of You” section is visible to others.