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Instagram explains how its feed algorithm works, and says it’s not considering a chronological option

Instagram is looking to dispel misconceptions about its algorithmic feed and offer more details on how exactly it works. As reported by TechCrunch, the company gathered a group of reporters this week to offer insights on the factors that affect what content you see, and in what order you see it…

First and foremost, Instagram claims that its algorithmic feed has increased the number of posts users see. Prior to the switch from the chronological feed in 2016, users were missing 50 percent of their friends’ posts in the app. Since the new algorithmic feed was introduced, however, users are seeing 90 percent of their friends’ posts.

Instagram says it uses three main factors, based on your past actions and behaviors, to determine how to build your feed:

  1. Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher ranking for what matters to you, determined by past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post.
  2. Recency: How recently the post was shared, with prioritization for timely posts over weeks-old ones.
  3. Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.

Instagram adds that it also considers the frequency with which you open Instagram, the number of people you follow, and how long you generally spend in the app during each session.

After clarifying the tentpoles of its algorithmic feed, Instagram took time to downplay many of the myths that surround the feed.

The company said that, at this time, it is not considering an option to bring back the old reverse chronological feed. Instagram said it “doesn’t want to add more complexity” to the application, but added that it is listening to feedback from users who don’t like the current feed algorithm.

Instagram also explained that it does not hide any posts in your feed, nor does it favor photo or video posts any differently.

  • Instagram’s feed doesn’t favor users who use Stories, Live, or other special features of the app.
  • Instagram doesn’t downrank users for posting too frequently or for other specific behaviors, but it might swap in other content in between someone’s if they rapid-fire separate posts.
  • Instagram doesn’t give extra feed presence to personal accounts or business accounts, so switching won’t help your reach.
  • Shadowbanning is not a real thing, and Instagram says it doesn’t hide people’s content for posting too many hashtags or taking other actions.

While the news that Instagram isn’t looking to offer a chronological feed option may disappoint some users, it’s at least comforting to get some additional details about the algorithm that is used to determine feeds.

What do you think of Instagram’s algorithm? Would you prefer a chronological-based option? Let us know down in the comments!

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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