As promised, Instagram is rolling out a chronological feed to all users, coupled with a new feed filtering option that lets you skim through posts from your favorite profiles. The functionalities were first tested in a small group of users in January, but are now available to all Instagram users—this is a far faster release than typical. The feed choices will be accessible to all Instagram users worldwide on iOS and Android, but not on the desktop version of the app. So while you type in your PlayAmo login on your computer, you won’t be able to see Instagram’s new feature on the same device.
The new preferences, Following and Favorites, will be displayed via a pop-up in the top-left of the app, beneath the name “Instagram.” You may then choose whatever feed you wish to see by tapping on it.
When These Updates Were Announced
In remarks made during his December 2021 hearing before a Senate hearing focusing on the possible hazards to young people using the app, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri initially disclosed the company’s desire to restore the chronological feed. Mosseri was asked if he felt users could scroll on Instagram without being deceived by algorithms during the Senate panel, and he said the company is planning on a feature that would offer them that option, which it hoped to introduce in early 2022.
Multiple studies suggested that people may be entangled inside so-called “filter bubbles” and “echo chambers” that represent their viewpoint—despite the fact that this claim is yet to be proven. Thus, lawmakers and regulators are becoming deeply concerned about Big Tech’s use of algorithms to organize the content users view. They’re also concerned that amoral algorithms are driving users down rabbit holes, occasionally leading to extreme beliefs, as platforms optimize solely for what would get people to click and interact more, rather than taking safety into account. They’re particularly concerned about the effects of algorithms on children and teenagers.
The feed possibilities are quite similar to the ones that were evaluated earlier this year. The primary, algorithmic Home feed, the chronological feed (Following), and the latest Favorites feed, which comprises accounts you pick, are now the three choices for viewing your Instagram feed. This feed would typically contain the accounts of family, close friends, and maybe some beloved creators. This option, on the other hand, could be used to curate any other group of Instagram profiles you wished to watch independently from the main feed. Users can now have around 50 Favorites accounts.
Additionally, while browsing through the main Home feed, posts from your Favorites list can now receive more attention and be marked with a star icon. Instagram says that posts will show in chronological order in both of the new feed choices, Following and Favorites, with no additional rating involved. However, these new options come with one major restriction: neither Following nor Favorites may be selected as the default.
According to Instagram’s study, customers are “better happy” with a sorted feed, thus users will not be redirected to a chronological feed when they first open the app. Twitter, on the other hand, suddenly discovered that the reverse was true. Users were so upset that they couldn’t choose the chronological feed as their default after Twitter gave an easier option to switch between algorithmic and chronological feeds that the company canceled the concept altogether. In 2016, when Instagram moved to an algorithmic feed for the first time, there was a similar reaction. But, unlike Twitter, it went unnoticed.