Instagram now shows users when people they follow or those they’ve chatted with were last active on the social media site.

The feature appears in the Direct section of the app, where users directly message each other.

[Read more: How to delete and deactivate your Instagram account]

It is similar to the popular time-stamping tool on Facebook and WhatsApp, and is switched on by default in the Instagram settings.

(Screenshot)
(Screenshot)

It is known as Show Activity Status, and a short description beneath it in the app’s settings reveals it enables any accounts you follow to see your status, as well as anyone you’ve messaged. It does not therefore, enable all of your followers to see your status.

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp show the last time a user was online and if they’ve seen and read any messages sent to them.

If you don’t want anyone to see your use of Instagram, the feature can be switched off, but this also disables your own ability to view the activity of others.

WhatsApp also enables users to turn off their activity status if they want to be more discreet. No such option exists for Messenger.

It is not clear if the feature is only being tested on some users or has been fully implemented – the Facebook-owned firm has not commented officially on the feature – but users on iOS and Android are reporting its appearance.

How to turn off Show Activity Status

1: Tap the Profile icon (looks like a person) located at the bottom left

2: Tap Settings (the cog icon)

3: Scroll down and look for Show activity status and turn the slide off

[Read more: How to keep your Instagram account private]