Instagram wants to make it easier to share your stories with more people and view stories in your area even if you're not connected to the author.

Instagram Stories hit the scene last year as a copy of Snapchat Stories and the company has been gradually adding new features and improvements to enhance the whole experience.

With the latest update, it's now easy to make your Instagram Stories public if you want to, or to hide them if you so prefer. The move aims to facilitate discovery, allowing users to find more stories.

With this in mind, Instagram has now added two new options when searching for stories: based on location or hashtag, or having them listed at the top.

Instagram Location Stories And Hashtag Stories

The latest Instagram version brings location and hashtag stories, which will appear at the top of the feed. Users should now see a story ring for nearby stories, such as those from the same city. This new story ring has a tiny location pin and it's located at the top of the Explore tab, right next to the ring for Top Live story.

"These stories come from people who have used location stickers on their stories," Instagram explains. "You can also search for any location around the world, and you'll see a story ring for that place at the top of the location page."

At the same time, Instagram is also starting to roll out hashtag stories in the Explore tab, allowing users to find more stories relevant to their interests. When users search for a specific hashtag, they may see a new story ring at the top of the page, showing stories that include that hashtag.

Instagram Location And Hashtag Stories: Quick Guide

Users who want their story to have a wider reach and be included in a larger story can add a hashtag or a location sticker, thus making their story more easily discoverable. If a user's story makes it to the larger story, their stories viewer list will have a new line indicating how many other users saw the story in the larger story.

Meanwhile, users who would like to use a hashtag or location sticker without having their story show up on Explore can just tap the X on their stories viewer list and tap Hide. Otherwise, the story might be included in one of Instagram's larger story collections if the account is set to public rather than private.

Instagram also introduced "face filters" recently, borrowing Snapchat's last major feature to allow users to apply selfie filters when taking photos or videos. It's worth pointing out, however, that a recent story found that Instagram is the most detrimental social media app when it comes to the mental health of young users, as it would often cause youngsters to feel depressed, anxious or lonely.

Instagram Location Stories are already available on Explore with the latest app version 10.22 on iOS and Android. Hashtag stories, meanwhile, will hit the scene in the following weeks.

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