Instagram is testing yet another feature meant to give users an alternative to finstas. It’s called “flipside” and it allows people to create a secondary photo grid that only designated friends can see.
If that sounds somewhat familiar it’s probably because Instagram already makes it pretty easy for users to create posts intended for a more limited audience. The app added the ability for users to share grid posts with “close friends” back in November (Stories for close friends has been a thing since 2018). More recently, it tested audience lists for Stories, so users could create multiple lists for small-group sharing. The app, of course, also makes it fairly easy to create an actual finsta.
Flipside, somewhat confusingly, offers yet another way of doing essentially the same thing. Users create a separate list of friends, distinct from “close friends,” to add to their “flipside.” They can then choose to post to their main grid or to their “flipside,” which is also accessible from their profile but only visible to the aforementioned list of friends. People will know if they have access to someone’s flipside if they see a key icon in someone’s grid, according to screenshots shared on Threads. (You can see a video of it in action over on Threads.)
Apparently, even Instagram head Adam Mosseri realizes this is all a bit redundant. “On one hand it feels good to create a clear space that feels more private,” he wrote in a post on Threads. “On the other, it's yet another way to reach a smaller audience on top of secondary accounts and Close Friends.”
He added that “we're not even sure we'll launch it,” which might explain why the company has been relatively quiet about the test. Flipside was first spotted back in December but was an internal prototype at the time, according to TechCrunch. However, it's now started to appear for actual users, with a number of reports of it appearing on Threads over the last day.
Early reactions seem to be mixed, with some enthusiasm for the update and some wondering why on earth they need yet another social media profile to maintain. Others seem to be, understandably, confused.
While finstas have (sometimes hilariously) been maligned, Meta’s recent obsession with creating “more private” spaces on Instagram is likely about more than simply adding convenience. Mosseri has noted many times over the last couple years that Instagram users simply aren’t posting as much as they used to, especially in their feeds. For an app that relies on advertising — much of it in users’ feeds — that’s less than ideal. So it’s not all that surprising Instagram would be looking for new ways to get people to spend more time posting to and scrolling their feeds.