At the F8 Developers Conference last month, Facebook made several new announcements about coming features for Instagram. On June 27, the company started rolling out the newest updates, including bringing video chat to Instagram Direct, new camera effects, and Topic Channels in Explore.
With the video chat, up to four people can talk at the same time via video as long as they’re already connected in Direct. A person won’t be able to enter or start a video chat via the platform if that user has blocked or muted someone in Direct.
The camera effects includes filters that were designed by Ariana Grande, BuzzFeed, Liza Koshy, Baby Ariel and the NBA. If you want access to the new effects, you’ll have to follow the relevant accounts.
Even though the camera effects and video chat features are mainly consumer-driven, the new Topic Channels in Explore will have more of an impact on brands and influencers. Topic Channels are being used by Instagram to organize content in the Explore tab, where content is curated based on a user’s behavior.
From the Instagram Press Blog:
With topic channels, you can be more intentional about how you navigate posts on Explore. When you open the page, you’ll see a tray at the top with personalized channels. This includes a ‘For You’ channel, which has a mix of posts tailored to your interests. You’ll also see channels on topic[s] you might like, such as Art, Sports, Beauty or Fashion, as well as a list of hashtags.
Instagram is also giving users the ability to control what Topic Channels show up in their Explore tab. By pressing down on a channel to select the “Mute” option, a channel can be removed from a feed. According to Instagram says that this will send the channel to the end of the “tray” and that channels can be unmuted at any time. By swiping up on a channels, users can go deeper into topic contents.