clock menu more-arrow no yes

Instagram rolled out a location Stories feature, just like Snapchat’s location Stories feature

Instagram will now compile Stories around hashtags and locations.

Temperatures Soar To Highest Of The Year Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Instagram is adding another new Snapchat feature — and another new place where it can (eventually) show ads to users.

The photo and video app is launching location- and hashtag-themed Stories, collections of user posts that are labeled with a specific city or hashtag. For example, a photo or video tagged with the “San Francisco” location sticker could appear in a location Story with posts from others who used the same “San Francisco” tag.

Snapchat has the same feature, called “Our Story,” and pulls in user photos and videos tied to specific locations or events, like concerts or sports events.

Unlike Snapchat, though, Instagram is going to pull all of these Stories together using only software algorithms instead of human curators.

Instagram’s director of product Blake Barnes says that using algorithms will help the company produce a greater volume of group Stories at a faster clip. “It makes sure this scales all over the world,” he said. Some of Snapchat’s Our Stories are curated by humans, and the company usually showcases just a few of them at a time. Others, though, are also created by software algorithms.

Eliminating humans is certainly a faster approach to content curation, but there are potential trade-offs, like a delay in catching inappropriate posts that make it into Instagram’s new Stories collections.

Barnes says that Instagram will review inappropriate posts as they are reported — the same method it already uses — but by leaving the curation entirely up to an algorithm, it also seems likely that Instagram will find that some offensive content or language makes it into a group Story.

It’s getting harder to tell social media apart.

Location and hashtag Stories give Instagram something besides yet another popular Snapchat feature: These Stories will also be another place to show users ads. Barnes says Instagram won’t sell ads against these group Stories at launch, but Snapchat does, and at one point was making some good money doing so. It’s very likely that Instagram will do the same at some point down the line.

Facebook is looking for new places to sell ads outside of its core News Feed, and Instagram is offering a lot of alternatives.

The new feature goes live as part of an update on iOS and Android Tuesday.


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.