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Instagram’s Newest Feature Is a Bigger Deal Than It Seems

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Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Account switching will help users leading double lives

Instagram announced Monday that it’s finally adding a much-desired feature: The ability to switch between multiple accounts without having to log out.

The photo-sharing app’s new functionality is an obvious boon for the social media managers of the world. But it’s likely to see adoption from Instagram’s everyday users as well, as there’s a growing contingent of people actively living double lives on the platform.

For some of Instagram’s youngest users, maintaining the carefully edited, jealousy-inducing persona that a successful Instagram account requires—every post showing you living your best possible life—has become tiring. So they have taken to creating fake Instagrams, or “finstagrams,” which are private accounts not tied to their real names. You only share your finstagram account with your closest friends, so you have the freedom to share pictures that are not agonizingly framed to get the maximum number of likes.

“You post things you wouldn’t want people other than your friends to see, like unattractive pictures, random stories about your day and drunk pictures from parties,” Amy Wesson, an 18-year-old Trinity College student, told The New York Times last fall. The spontaneity and freedom of a finstagram is similar to the vibe of Facebook in its early days, before the parents invaded, or Snapchat, whose disappearing photos encourage a certain level of visual honesty.

Is this a change that will massively increase Instagram’s user base? Probably not. But it’s likely to keep teens more satisfied with the platform and less likely to grow restless and move on to the next hot social app. Now they’ll have the best of both worlds: a place to show off and a place to communicate intimately with friends.

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