Users of Instagram’s new “ask a question” feature have been surprised to discover it’s not quite as anonymous as they thought, leading to some embarrassing situations.
The feature, which openly invites users to ask a question (rather than just having them type it as a comment) is the latest attempt to keep existing users active on the site. It’s clearly based on the likes of Formspring where the questioning was the central point of the service.
Both Formspring and Ask.fm made the questioning anonymous, something that was great for liberating nervous questioners, but also inherently flawed in a world where cyberbullying exists.
The way Instagram described its new feature led some users to believe it was anonymous. That’s because, as the Guardian notes, it told users that “if their question is shared, their username won’t be displayed.”
That is indeed the case when it comes to the recipient of the question deciding to answer it publicly. However, when the recipient first sees the question they will see exactly who it came from.
While there’s no way of knowing what’s true, plenty of social media users are now sharing stories of having used the feature to let off steam or tell some home truths. Of course, that’s just the stuff people are willing to admit to – no doubt for every person whose secret crush has been revealed, another’s true character have been exposed in spectacular fashion.