Instagram Will Become More Like Facebook, With Algorithmic Feed

Instagram’s new feed will prioritize content that is of interest to you, by way of an algorithm. Sound familiar?

Instagram Will Become More Like Facebook, With Algorithmic Feed
[Photo: YashilG via Pixabay]

Facebook-owned Instagram is tweaking your Instagram feed—with an algorithm, of course—to better customize it to your browsing habits and interests, Instagram announced Tuesday. For now, the New York Times reports, Instagram will only be testing the new format, which will rank posts from friends and other content that matters to you at the top of your feed—a break from the reverse chronological feed Instagram has offered since its inception.

“To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the change. “The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order—all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.”

Some users of the photo-sharing app are likely to be unhappy with the change, as many Twitter users were when the company began testing more curated feeds. But for parent company Facebook, which engineered the social algorithm that now influences more than a billion people, this move is not unprecedented.

Judging by Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom’s comments to the Times, the change likely has less to do with controlling what users see and more to do with the app’s increasing popularity. “On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed,” Systrom told the Times. “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”

Unlike Facebook’s news feed, Instagram will still show every post on your feed, albeit reordered—so you can still get your fill of parody accounts and puppy photos.

About the author

Pavithra Mohan is an assistant editor for Fast Company Digital. Her writing has previously been featured in Gizmodo and Popular Science magazine.