Instagram to optimize user feeds, show posts out of chronological order

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Photo sharing service Instagram on Tuesday announced plans to apply an optimization algorithm to user feeds that, much like the system used by parent company Facebook, reorders posts based on a variety of performance metrics.

The change is being positioned as a solution for cluttered timelines, a problem many users face as their social network expands to hundreds or thousands of people.

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram, like other social media platforms, has presented user content in a chronological timeline, meaning the most recent posts show up at the top of the feed. However, the service's user base has grown to a point where people miss an average of 70 percent of content on their feeds, not ideal for keeping abreast of the latest goings on. It's also not a good position for Instagram's advertising efforts.

Instagram has not revealed how, exactly, it plans to optimize user feeds, saying only that the order of photos and videos will be base on "the likelihood you'll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post." The New York Times reported that the process relies in part on machine learning, though it remains unclear what metrics are being computed.

The company said it will initially focus on order optimization, meaning once optimizations roll out, users will see posts deemed most relevant float to the top of their timelines. Instagram points out that all posts will carry the usual timestamp, and that users are welcome to leave feedback as the program progresses.


  • Reply 1 of 9
    Yep simple way to push advertising on the platform, sigh!
  • Reply 2 of 9
    A simple "hide this person" sure would unclutter my feed without offending that person with an unfollow. Facebook can place ads anywhere regardless of chronological order. I hope I can opt out and choose how I want to see my feed. Probably not. Oh well. 
  • Reply 3 of 9
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    "Optimize" LOL
    Tim Liszt
  • Reply 4 of 9
    I knew that eventually the advantages of Instagram vs. Facebook would be dismantled by parent company, Facebook. Damn them!

  • Reply 5 of 9
    wbeemwbeem Posts: 5member
    I guess this sucks for people who divide a photo into six or 9 sections and then upload it so all of them together form an entire photo.  Good job on killing creativity among your user base, Instagram.  That's the goal, right?
  • Reply 6 of 9
    This is why we need a constant supply of new social media options. As these organizations become bloated profit vacuums, they also become less valuable to users.

    "Optimized timeline" benefits precisely no one except the company.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    Instagram lost me when I couldn't do something as simple as zooming in on a picture.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    Well, this sucks.

    But I can give them a metric that relate to Bella Thorne's feed:

    Fewer clothes, higher up on the feed.


    But seriously, this does suck.  At least it sounds like they haven't really worked it out yet, so maybe it ... Oh, who am I trying to kid?  :(
  • Reply 9 of 9
    When I saw the post's timestamp move from the top right to the bottom under the comment count, I figured this was next.
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