Music on Notes, shared photo carousels, creator-made NFTs — these are just a few of the many new features Instagram has either rolled out or, in the case of the NFTs, been announced but then never spoken of again, in the last couple years.
The latest? Instagram Flipside, a formalised version of a “finsta”, which stands for “fake Instagram account”, which is a separate account used to post content that’s too private or inappropriate for a user’s main account. Flipside takes away the need for a finsta by embedding the alternate content into the user’s main account.
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, teased the feature on Threads, saying it was being tested, but he wasn’t even sure it would officially launch.
“On one hand it feels good to create a clear space that feels more private,” he wrote. “On the other, it’s yet another way to reach a smaller audience on top of secondary accounts and Close Friends. We’ll see how people respond in the rest, and iterate forward.”
What Is an Instagram Flipside?
Instagram Flipside lets users create a secondary photo grid that only designated friends can see. Users create a separate list of friends, different from ‘close friends’, which already exists, to add to their ‘flipside’. They can then post to their main grid or to their ‘flipside’, accessible from their profile but only to those on the list.
Your Instagram Flipside can have a separate profile picture, name and bio, which help create a distinctive space for your private content.
Though Instagram has said Flipside is still a prototype, multiple Instagram users have shared on Threads that they’ve been given access to it. Software engineer Alessandro Paluzzi tweeted screenshots and an explanation of it. He said it was originally called ‘Your space’.
#Instagram continues to work on “Flipside” 👀
ℹ️ Only people you choose can see this side of your profile and what you share here
ℹ️ Everything you share on Flipside is still subject to community guidelines pic.twitter.com/lDQAjUzbAy
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) December 10, 2023
In the screenshot, he shared that the ‘flipside’ account was indicated with a key icon. You’ll know if you’ve been added to someone’s flipside if you see the key icon on someone’s profile.
“’Your space’ is a private space within your public profile, you can have a bio and a profile photo different from that of your public profile and publish photos, reels and stories visible only to the people you decide to add within this space,” Paluzzi wrote.
How Do You Make a Flipside on Instagram?
To access a user’s Flipside, tap a button or swipe down on their main profile. This will show you the user’s Flipside, a separate space where content can be shared more selectively.
It’s different from the expanded ‘close friends’ feature launched in November 2023 that allows users to share private stories in their main feed.
Do We Need the New Feature?
Reactions have been mixed, with some users enthusiastic and others wondering why they need yet another social profile to maintain. Mosseri has mentioned many times in the last couple of years Instagram users aren’t posting as much as they used to, and Gen Z users on TikTok have often shared that posting to Instagram and scrolling it gives them “the ick”.
In an article on Nylon titled ‘Why Instagram Gives Gen Z The Ick’, Instagram’s ‘cringe factor’ is in part attributed to the shift in Gen Z’s definition of aspirational. Also in the article, creator Victor Kunda points out that when compared with Instagram, TikTok feels more like a community, and so content creation is more fun.
“TikTok is all about personality,” he says. “The app has created this new kind of influencer, one that is more down-to-earth and more accessible. The app just feels more low maintenance than Instagram. As sensitive as TikTok can be, it feels like a safe space.”
No doubt Instagram is aware of its cringe and the factors that have contributed to this and is trying to address them with its slew of new features. While the Flipside could help Instagram achieve the more authentic and tighter circle community it’s lacking, it could also push Gen Z users further away. Adding new features after the next could be seen as desperate, which will only add to the cringe.
Our hot take? Instagram should stop concentrating on launching new features and instead sit back and observe, playing the long game. Gen Z love retro tech and will no doubt be telling us how they use Instagram in the next couple of years. Like they did with disposable cameras, flip phones and wired headphones. They’ll find the platform’s place and it won’t cost millions in new tech development.