Arabic and Farsi typing comes to Instagram

Writing in Arabic just became easier on Instagram
Writing in Arabic just became easier on Instagram

How did we survive without it? Oh wait, maybe because an image-drive social media feed doesn’t need text? Thankfully, Instagram has realised it needs to let people connect in their own languages. Cue the rise of the #InstaArabic hashtag.

In a long overdue move, the social media site finally launched Arabic written functionality on Android, so you can now type from right to left. In a media handout, Instagram said it spend the first half of 2017 reconfiguring the app to support the new feature, which now powers three languages, including Hebrew and Farsi.

The move is seen as an attempt to reach wider audiences in the Middle East and North Africa region. It is the latest initiative from Instagram after recent value-boosting attempts this year such as allowing users to go live together and to post galleries.

No Urdu yet though

Thus far, the site has worked for languages that can be read from right to left and top to bottom, such as Korean, Japanese and Chinese, but exclusively left-to-right languages haven’t been able to get a word in. Unfortunately, Urdu is among those still left out, but hopefully it’ll show up soon – Pakistan alone has 200 million people for whom it is the first language!

The functionality was launched at an event in Dubai last night, with several influencers showing up, including local artist Dina Saadi, who created a stunning mural depicting the words, ‘Stand here and smile’ to encourage selfies and show off the beauty of the Arabic script.

“We have an incredibly vibrant and creative community in the Middle East,” Instagram’s EMEA Community lead, Ali Busacca said. “We hope that this new functionality will allow the Arabic community to connect with one other, and with Instagram’s global community.”

Mike Krieger, Instagram’s co-founder said the effort helped make Instagram one of the most inclusive and diverse platforms in the world. “With this update we hope even more Arabic speakers are able to use Instagram to connect with the people and interests that matter to them,” he said in a media handout.