Spotted by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong, the new option, as noted, will be activated by relevant hashtags, turning your Stories activation border in a multi-colored circle, as opposed to the generic Instagram color tone one. Stories can even appear with a green color ring once shared with close friends only (also visible within the second screenshot above).
The feature is likely one of several Instagram will roll out for Pride Month. Last year, Instagram added a new rainbow background in Stories type mode, rainbow versions of mention, hashtag and location stickers, and a rainbow heart to be used in Instagram Live.
The new Stories ring hasn’t formally been announced yet, therefore it may be a part of a bigger feature release coming this week.
It’s a noteworthy addition though, and one that could open the door to alternate color choices for the Stories ring to make them stand out. It could, for example, be used to help users understand what different stories are about – a story about a breaking news event, which uses the relevant hashtag, could be given a different color, helping users find more relevant content in their Stories list.
Or it might just be a once off. However Instagram chooses to use it, it’s another fascinating Stories presentation option for the app.