As more of us are stuck inside during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Instagram is rolling out a number of new features. The most interesting among them is the ability to watch videos live with friends during video calls, but the social network is also adding links to coronavirus resources from the World Health Organization, plus a “Stay Home” sticker (seen above) that adds posts to one big story.
The live video sharing feature is called Co-Watching, and it can be activated by tapping the photo icon in the corner of the screen during video calls. Any videos played from there will play for everybody on the call, and users will still be able to see each other’s faces during playback. It’s almost like hanging out in real life.
Searching for “coronavirus” (or related terms like “COVID-19”) will surface results as normal, but also a banner with a link to the World Health Organization’s website. Instagram also says it’s working to moderate COVID-19 content by way of third-party fact checkers.
Lastly, that “Stay Home” sticker will add accounts that use it to a shared story — one ostensibly about staying home during shelter-in-place orders and lockdowns, but time will tell how users actually use it. Check out Instagram’s blog post for more info.