Jane Manchun Wong, a researcher who regularly scours the inner workings of Instagram updates recently revealed the new feature that will memorialize users that have passed on.
On Wednesday, Buzzfeed News reported that the social-media company is hastening production of its memorialization feature, a “Remembering” banner placed beneath a deceased user’s name to signify that they have died. The feature has reportedly been in the works for a while but is being rushed out because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Liz Crenshaw, a spokesperson for Instagram, told Buzzfeed News, “We’ve been working on these updates for some time, though this is one — among others — that we’ve accelerated in light of COVID-19 to help support our community during a difficult time.” These additional features include Co-Watching, a tool Instagram began rolling out last month that gives users the option to view Instagram posts with their friends while they’re video-chatting.
It’s unclear when Instagram plans to release the update.
The firm has not commented on whether the banners will be available across the globe or in select countries.
Under Instagram’s current policy, family members can submit a formal request to have a dead person’s account locked, preserved, and capable of receiving DMs which no one reads. Facebook, which owns Instagram, has had a memorialization feature for a long time and since 2015 has permitted its users to name an “heir” to their account, who will be entrusted with the management of their profile when they die.
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