Instagram goes algorithmic, will try to guess what you want to see in your feed

The social network's new feed, which will put posts it thinks you'll be most interested in at the top, will begin rolling out to users over the next month.

instagram new logo
Credit: Instagram

Enjoy Instagram’s reverse-chronological timeline while you can, because it’s about to go away for good. In a blog post published late last week, Instagram announced that it will start to roll out a new algorithmic feed to its users “over the coming month.” 

The new algorithmic feed, which Instagram first announced back in March, will attempt to identify the things you’re most interested in and put those posts at the top of your feed. According to Instagram, users “miss 70 percent of their feeds” on average. The new feed tries to address this—you might not see more of your feed, the thinking goes, but at least you’ll see the things you’ll want to see.

“With this new ordering you won’t miss your favorite band’s video after the concert, even if it took place across the world in a different time zone,” the blog post states. “And no matter how many accounts you follow, you should see your best friend’s latest posts.”

The story behind the story: Algorithmic timelines and feed have become a staple of social media services. Facebook has used one for years, while Twitter first dipped its toe into algorithmic timelines earlier this year (though not without considerable backlash).

Many Instagram users responded negatively to the upcoming feed change when it was  announced back in March, our Jared Newman reported at the time. The idea still isn’t going over well with some users, though, judging from comments on the  blog post announcing the imminent change. But Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, knows a thing or two about dealing with algorithms—and upset users after service changes. Still, only time will tell how well a Facebook-style algorithm will translate to Instagram, and how it might affect the way we use the service.

Subscribe to the Best of Macworld Newsletter