Instagram adds a feature to deliver posts directly to followers

Instagram

Instagram is rolling out a new feature called broadcast channels that lets users send text or photo updates directly to followers, the latest attempt by the Meta Platforms Inc. division to fine-tune the service. Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg announced the news on his Instagram account Thursday by creating a channel of his own. The idea is to offer another way to share posts without having to put them on a potentially cluttered main Instagram feed.

“I’m starting this channel to share news and updates on all products and tech we’re building at Meta,” he wrote. “This will be the place I share Meta product news first.”

Meta is billing the new feature as a tool for creators to more directly reach people who want to hear their updates. As the company competes more fiercely with the video app TikTok — Instagram has a rival product called Reels — it has also tailored its algorithm to show people more content about their interests. But that’s drawn complaints that users aren’t seeing enough posts from the people they actually follow. Channels may offer another way for creators to reach their audience directly without relying solely on Instagram’s feed algorithm.

Instagram has become arguably Meta’s most important service in recent years. Not only is it the company’s best bet against TikTok, but Instagram is a major revenue driver and responsible for much of Meta’s business growth. That role is even more important given the company’s broader focus on building the so-called metaverse, which has been an expensive endeavor.

The channel’s launch also comes at an important time for Meta’s overall business. Zuckerberg recently dubbed 2023 the “year of efficiency,” and has pledged to cut some middle managers and better prioritize product efforts to help the company move faster. Earlier this week, it shuttered a live shopping feature to “focus on products and features that provide the most value.”

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