Instagram told users and businesses today that their photo feeds "will soon be ordered to show the moments [it believes] you will care about the most." Up until now, Instagram organized its feeds in reverse-chronological order. That is, the photos in your feed appeared whenever they were shared. As the New York Times writes, Facebook introduced algorithmic ordering to its News Feed back in 2009. And while the change prompted protests, the resulting panic was short-lived.
Instagram announced Tuesday that it plans to change the way users' timelines look by ordering posts using an algorithm rather than simply displaying the photos in reverse chronological order. You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it's become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don't see the posts you might care about the most. To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.
It's strange that people are freaking out about the coming update, even though it would ostensibly help them. After all, if you follow a lot of Instagram accounts, there's a good chance you're probably already missing important posts (baby pictures! This is exactly what the algorithm is supposed to fix. We can't know for sure how the algorithm update will work, but it makes sense to look at Facebook for clues. Facebook, which owns Instagram, has gotten pretty good at interpreting the people and things you're most interested in and displaying content based on those preferences.