Instagram is now allowing users to easily switch between accounts without logging out and back in.

Why does this matter? Instagram’s user base has grown to over 400 million monthly active users, a large percentage of which operate on multiple accounts. For some, Instagram is an outlet for niche interests, with accounts dedicated to everything from food and makeup to taxidermy and tattoos gone wrong. Making it easier for users to multitask across accounts makes the platform more enjoyable and efficient to use.

The main reason for the update, however, probably has more to do with Instagram’s youngest users. Millennials face a unique challenge when figuring out how to present themselves to the world around them. Social media makes it necessary for young people to develop multiple facets of their identities. Young people use Instagram for a very specific purpose: to create an ideal identity.


Instagram’s younger users manage their accounts with precision, only posting content that maximizes the illusion of perfection they have painstakingly constructed. Posts are carefully and intensively designed, down to the last detail. Hundreds of photos are taken to achieve the perfect shot, and then images are extensively edited to remove any flaws. Instagram stars lounge on picturesque beaches, attend glamorous parties, fearlessly dive off cliffs, and eat decorative food – and they always look good doing it. For millennials, Instagram is a tool to elevate their online identities to a level of unparalleled perfection.

Maintaining an illusion to this degree is no easy job, and sometimes users need a break from their pretense. Many young users solve this problem by creating “finstagrams” – fake Instagram accounts that are private and not tied to real names, where they can communicate with a small circle of close friends more intimately.

If this seems perplexing, keep in mind the incessantly pervasive nature of modern communication. “Fake Instagram accounts seem to be a distinct cultural product of people belonging to a generation raised with social media and smartphones,” explains Valeriya Safronova of the New York Times of the phenomenon.

“These locked, pseudonymous accounts capture something rarely seen by people who follow these same users on their main accounts: reality.” Popular Instagram users must deal daily with unrelenting judgement, insults, and oftentimes harassment in the comments of their photos. In an unexpected way, finstagrams allow users to be their genuine selves by providing a space where they can share their lives without being judged by a massive public.

By enabling easy account switching, Instagram has helped its users to successfully lead double lives. This feature won’t necessarily attract new users, but it might help to keep its current users happy so they don’t move on to other platforms.