Changing your username on social media can feel like a massive commitment — particularly for influencers with millions of followers who’ve become accustomed to tapping on and searching for a specific handle.
But now, Instagram is piloting a feature that would make the transition a little easier. The platform could soon institute a grace period enabling users to hold onto existing handles for 14 days while they try on a new user name, Fortune reports — in order to ensure a perfect fit.
The test was first spotted by developer Jane Manchun Wong (see below), and subsequently confirmed by the platform itself. “We observed that if someone changes or loses their username — for example, if they want to switch usernames or if they lose access to their account — it can sometimes be claimed quickly by another person,” the Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing app told Fortune. “With this feature, we give the account holder the security of knowing their username is safe for a period of time following any changes.”
While Fortune notes that it has always been relatively easy to change your username on Instagram — and users can do so without losing their followers or any existing posts — the feature would also serve to clamp down on the bots that immediately claim coveted handles as soon as they become available, and then re-sell them on a black market of sorts.
Instagram will start locking old usernames for 14 days after changing so the previous owner can revert to it within the grace period
This is the end of username grabber bots 😀 pic.twitter.com/mAAgbDYny2
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 20, 2019