Instagram Might (Finally) Be Fixing Its Algorithm

Almost exactly two years ago, Instagram made changes to its algorithm that left some users, in a word, dissatisfied.

The changes would modify the algorithm so that posts no longer appeared in chronological order on a user’s feed, but rather, surface pictures and videos that it thought might be of greater interest.

This, like any other algorithm change, was likely based largely on a user’s behavior on Instagram — who the person followed, which posts the person liked, and so on.

It left content creators upset — including celebrity personality Kylie Jenner.

But now, Instagram might be backtracking.

Today, the visual content-sharing app announced that it would be changing its algorithm once again, so that more recent posts are could appear first in a user’s feed. These modifications, the statement said, will “give you more control over your feed and ensure the posts you see are timely.”

It’s also testing a “New Posts” feature, which is essentially a button that allows users to manually refresh their feeds, rather than having the app update it automatically. Want to see new posts? Tap the button. Otherwise, don’t touch it, and your feed will stay right where you left off, Instagram says.

The announcement comes on the same day that Instagram announced it will be allowing users to place hyperlinked hashtags and tagged profiles in their bios.

Source: Instagram

Instagram is owned by Facebook, which has been experiencing a host of PR issues following last week’s allegations that personal user data was misused by analytics company Cambridge Analytica.

Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social campaign strategy associate, points out that this shift is reminiscent of Facebook’s own algorithm changes in January to place a greater emphasis on content from friends and family in News Feeds. 

“‘Newer’ versus ‘popular’ means preferential placement won’t be given to brands,” he says, “but to whoever has posted most recently.”

The announcements arrive among a host of issues for Instagram’s competing app Snapchat, which has been experiencing its own blowback following a redesign.

Earlier today, it was reported that Instagram might be working to emulate Snapchat’s Snapcodes feature, which allows users to scan codes to find profiles or content on the app.

Instagram’s version, which is rumored to be called Nametag, would permit a create a similar capability, giving content creators another method of gaining followers by letting them scan a visual code on print or other materials. 

Starting today, users will be able to add hyperlinked hashtags and tagged profiles in their bios — with the caveat that any tagged profiles will receive a notification of such and can untag themselves if desired.

The New Posts feature and possible algorithm changes appear to only be in the testing stages at this point, though Instagram says it will announce more “improvements” in the coming month.

As for the rumors — I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Questions? Feel free to reach out on Twitter.

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    Updated on 19 September 2018

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