Instagram will let users switch their feeds so they view the most recent posts first, relenting after years of complaints about the photo app’s current ranking that chooses the order of posts based on a user’s behaviour. Meta Platforms Inc’s Instagram is introducing two options for its feed, “Following” and “Favorites,” according to a blog post Wednesday.
Following works the way Instagram did up until 2016: it shows posts in reverse-chronological order. Favorites allows further curation, letting users list up to 50 accounts they wish to see higher in their feeds.
“We want people to feel good about the time they spend on Instagram, by giving them ways to shape their experience into what’s best for them,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.
Instagram introduced an algorithmic ordering for its feed because professional users, such as influencers and brands, had started posting so frequently and strategically that they would drown out content from regular users, people familiar with the matter have said. Regular users started to think their friends weren’t using Instagram. The 2016 algorithm was trained so that it showed people whatever content would inspire them to post more, the people said.
While the change did help increase visibility for content from users’ friends and family, it drew backlash from professionals, whose follower growth started slowing, as well as regular users, who didn’t like the decrease in control.
In recent years, Instagram has started introducing more content into people’s feeds that the app’s algorithm suggests, even if users haven’t followed it. That has increased users’ desire to have more control over what they see.
Even if people claim to hate the algorithm, Instagram’s internal research shows they’re more satisfied with that ordering, “so we are not defaulting people into a chronological feed experience,” Instagram said in its statement. Users will have to specifically decide to see posts in most-recent order.