Instagram has announced it will be tweaking its algorithm to help you see more of the content you care about.

During a whiteboard session with a select group of press at Instagram’s new San Francisco offices, the Facebook-owned social media company revealed all about its feed ranking factors, Instagram business profiles, and put to rest the shadowban rumours once and for all.

The main takeout

Instagram says that users should now see 90% of posts from accounts they care about (including family and friends), instead of the 50% from the previous algorithm. The social media giant also confirmed that it relies on machine learning to create a unique feed per user.

So what can users expect to see from the update? It appears that three core factors will determine what you will see in your spanking new personalised Instagram feed.

1. Interest

Instagram predicts how much you’ll be interested in a post based on your past behaviour with similar content.

2. Recency

A post’s position in the feed will depend on how recently the post was published. Priority is now given to newer content rather than older updates.

3. Relationship

This ranking factor depends on how much you’ve interacted with the original poster. If you’ve liked and commented quite a bit on a particular users’ content in the past, Instagram will assume you want to see more from that person.

Anything else?

As with any social media platform, Instagram will try to show you the best posts since you last visited. If you follow lots of Instagram profiles, or don’t open the app regularly, then there’s going to be a lot more content to see so you’ll be shown the most relevant posts published during the time you last opened the app.

What about the shadowban rumour?

Instagram claims that shadowbanning is not a ‘thing’, and insists it doesn’t hide people’s content for posting multiple hashtags.

How else is the Instagram algorithm trying to mess with us?

TechCrunch* reported the following additional points from the session that should clear up any other nasty rumours about the algorithm.

  • “Instagram is not at this time considering an option to see the old reverse chronological feed.
  • Instagram’s feed doesn’t favour 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 behaviours, 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 now what?

As more celebrities, brands, and us completely normal folk join the social network, our feeds are set to get even more flooded with content – which increases competition. Whether brands and influencers will complain about being forced to pay to play remains to be seen.


*How Instagram’s algorithm works – TechCrunch.
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