Instagram Debunks Common Myths About How Its Feed Works

Image via Instagram Brand Assets

Over the weekend, Instagram invited members of the press to its San Francisco office—now on the cusp of debut—to better grasp how its feed ranking algorithm works.

Now worlds apart from the old chronological feed settings, the machine learning-based system ranks posts based on your past behavior, explained Julian Gutman, Instagram’s product lead. Even if you follow the same people and brands as another user, you’ll both see different orders of photos and videos.

The app prioritizes posts from its predictions of which ones you’ll care most for, how close you might be with someone you follow, and the recency of the uploads. It also takes into account how frequently you open Instagram and how long you’re on it to determine which posts to show you first.

The team also debunked some beliefs tied to how its algorithm functions. For one, Instagram doesn’t spotlight business accounts over personal accounts, so if you’re considering making the switch just for the extra presence, don’t bother.

It also doesn’t “promote” users who leverage special features like ‘Stories’ and ‘Live’. Neither does it have a preference between photo or video formats—rather, it arranges content based on which kind you tend to interact more with. If more videos are appearing on your feed, it’s because your browsing behavior shows you watch more videos.

Further, Instagram doesn’t push down accounts that post too frequently, but might sandwich their content with those of other users. It will also not hide posts with multiple hashtags.

Unfortunately, the app still isn’t considering bringing back its well-loved chronological feature. However, what you’re now seeing on your personalized feed is a fine-tuned version of it that allows you to view new posts at each refresh. Additionally, the algorithm doesn’t hide any posts, and as long as you continue scrolling, you’ll be able to see everything uploaded by everyone you follow.

[via TechCrunch, cover image via Instagram Brand Assets]


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