Developer and student Alessandro Paluzzi first spotted the test of the feature. “Now you can swipe up and down to browse stories”, a pop-up highlighting the new design says.
Paluzzi found the feature in Instagram’s code, which the company later confirmed to TechCrunch.
“This is an early prototype and is not currently testing on Instagram,” a company spokesperson told the publication, and as such the design may never actually make it into the main app.
Instagram is currently being challenged by rival TikTok, which has exploded in popularity.
In order to better compete, Instagram introduced Reels in August 2020, as a similar short-form video function.
Users are able to record short videos that can be shared with friends and edited with filters and effects, however the feature has been called a ‘TikTok clone’ and parallels have been drawn to Instagram’s addition of Stories after it launched on Snapchat.
However, the launch of the feature has given users too many places to post and has led to confusion on the app.
Instagram head Adam Mosseri recently told The Verge that most people do not understand the difference between IGTV(the app’s format for long-form video) and videos posted to Instagram.
“That’s probably too nuanced a distinction to resonate with anybody, so we’re looking about how we can — not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram — simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets,” he says. “I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”
Instagram is removing a central feature of stories following feedback from users.
Select people are seeing a message in their app that tells them Instagram is “testing a change to sharing to stories”.
The change means that users won’t be able to share posts from their own and others’ feeds onto their stories.