Instagram wants to help its users avoid photos and videos they’re not interested in by introducing algorithmic filtering to its feed. Rather than showing content in reverse chronological order, as it always has done, the social media site “will soon be ordered to show the moments [it believes] you will care about the most.”
The move will see Instagram copy owner Facebook’s news feed, which started using an algorithm mainly based on the popularity of posts back in 2009.
Kevin Systrom, Instagram co-founder and chief executive, said that the move stems from the fact that people miss around 70 percent of the photo and video posts that appear in their feed. "What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible," he told the New York Times.
The new order that the posts appear in will likely be based on a person’s interest in the content, their relationship with the poster, and the timeliness of the post.
“If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it,” Instagram said.
The change will initially be introduced to a small number of users, but it will expand to everyone else over the coming months. Instagram promised that it will listen to the feedback it receives regarding the change. If it’s universally hated, then the algorithm may be tweaked – or not introduced at all.
So far, Instagram users haven’t reacted well to the news, with many complaining that if they wanted a Facebook-style feed, they would use Facebook.
Twitter users were equally up in arms when the microblogging site introduced a lighter version of this algorithmic-sorted feed. But in Instagram's case, it looks highly likely that – despite the protests – the change will occur.
“Instagram’s transition to an algorithmic feed was inevitable,” Jason Stein, CEO of social advertising agency Laundry Service, told BuzzFeed News. “You end up missing a lot of important content and your content isn’t seen by the people you’re posting it for. This is going to make Instagram great again.”