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Instagram just made it way easier to publicly show off your Stories

Instagram wants you to watch even more Stories, and share your own. Here's where to find them along with how to share or hide your own.

Since introducing a stories feature last year, Instagram has added a boatload of new features to its stories, most recently its Snapchat-like face filters last week. Now, it's making it easier for you to find stories. Instagram announced on Tuesday that it has added two new ways to search for stories: Bubbling them up to the top of the Explore tab based on location or hashtag.

Location stories

If you've updated Instagram to the latest version, then you'll start seeing location and hashtag stories at the top of your feed. For example, I now see a story ring for my town, (Concord, New Hampshire) next to the Top Live story ring at the top of the Explore tab. It's got a little location pin to indicate it contains stories based on location.

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You can now see Instagram Stories shared from around your location.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Location-based story rings also show up when you search for a location, but they don't show up for all locations. I got a story ring at the top of the search results page for New York and Boston, for example, but not Portland, Maine.

If you want your Stories to show in the Location Stories others can see, be sure to use the location tag in your Story.

Stories for hashtags

You'll also start seeing story rings for hashtags, but you'll need to search for those. For some hashtag searches on the Explore tab, you'll see story rings at the top of your results of stories that use that hashtag. Like the Location Stories, be sure to hashtag your Stories if you want them to appear to other people.

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Searching for a hashtag can now bring you even more Stories.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Don't want your Stories included? Opt out

If you add a location or hashtag sticker to a story, then your story may be included in one of Instagram's larger story collections based on the sticker you used. Your stories will be shared only if your account is set to public (that is, you have not toggled on Private Account in the settings menu).

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You can hide your Stories from being publicly accessible.

Instagram

For public accounts, you can still remove a story from a larger story collection after the fact. To do so, open your story and swipe up to see the viewer list for it. If your story has been shared in a larger location- or hashtag-based story collection, then you'll see it listed at the top of the viewer list along with how many people saw it as part of that larger story. To remove your story from the collection, just tap the X button for that item on the viewer list and then tap Hide.

For more, learn how to post photos to Instagram from your computer and our complete guide to Instagram Stories.

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