24 March 2018

Instagram Press: “Changes to improve Your Instagram Feed”

Based on your feedback, we’re also making changes to ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed. With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about. So if your best friend shares a selfie from her vacation in Australia, it will be waiting for you when you wake up.

Instagram Press

This seems like an good change at first, but in my case I think it has seriously messed up my feed. In the past two days, all I can see in the iOS app are posts from hashtags I follow and ads! – roughly one ad every four or five posts. The feed on the web and in the Windows app are unaffected, probably still running the old ranking algorithm. (in the mean time, I discovered a workaround for iOS: view a Story, close it, then pull down to refresh, and now finally the feed returns to normal)

With this update, it does make some sense to show more photos from hashtags: if they are particularly popular, there’s a lot more of them and so they appear ‘fresher’ than most of the photos posted by people you follow, but it completely breaks the experience of following individual accounts. I think Instagram needs more work to properly balance this new algorithm for dealing with hashtags.

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