Instagram has listened to users and brought back a much-loved feature — in the most annoying way possible.
Instagram has finally given in and allowed you to bypass the company’s infamous ranking algorithm. This means you can view posts from accounts you follow in strict chronological order, with the most recent posts showing first.
However, this change doesn’t mark a return to the pre-ranking era. It will, in fact, pave the way for Instagram to push even more potentially unwanted content into your main feed, which will continue to function as normal. The problem, for many users, is that the curated main feed will always remain the default option when you open the app.
The good news is that Instagram has added not one but two new chronological feeds to the app. They can be accessed by tapping on the word “Instagram” at the top left of the screen and selecting either ‘Following’ or ‘Favorites’.
Selecting ‘Following’ presents you with posts only from accounts you follow, presented in reverse chronological order with the newest posts at the top. This is much like how things used to work before the introduction of Instagram’s infamous feed algorithm which decides for you which posts are most deserving of your attention and adds recommended content from accounts you don’t follow.
According to Instagram head, Adam Mosseri, this enables users to discover content that “they didn’t even know existed, but that they might enjoy or love”. Mosseri also claims that ‘average’ accounts reach 50 percent more followers than on a chronological feed.
But what about those not-so-average accounts? Lower-ranked posts run the risk of never reaching your eyes at all, particularly if they have been deliberately demoted due to edging close to, but not overstepping, Instagram’s community guidelines.
The second new feed is accessed by selecting ‘Favorites’ from the Instagram menu. Here you can pick up to 50 favorite accounts which will appear in their own chronological feed so you can focus your time on the accounts you enjoy the most.
Note that the Favorites feed will show you posts you’ve already seen or even interacted with already. This means there’s no way to return to the Favorites feed and browse from where you left off.
However, favorite accounts will gain an automatic boost in ranking. This allows you to continue to use Instagram’s curated main feed with less chance of missing content that’s important to you, even if it has been demoted by Instagram. This is potentially more useful than the Favorites feed itself.
The two new feeds will become more important over time as Mosseri has indicated that, in future, Instagram will be adding even more recommended content to the main feed, based on your interests. This is fine as long as Instagram’s algorithm does in fact deliver the content you want to see. For the times when it fails, Following and Favorites are now here to help.
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