When Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012 for a billion dollars, we knew to expect a slow Facebookification of the photo-sharing app over the years to come. That transformation is about to be complete.
Instagram has started testing an algorithm-based personalized feed for users so you can “see the moments you care about first.” Much like Facebook has been doing for a while now, and Twitter introduced recently, posts that the algorithm thinks you’d want to see most will appear at the top of your timeline regardless of when they were uploaded.
The move essentially kills the era of chronological order in social media.
“On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed,” said Kevin Systrom, co-founder and chief executive of Instagram, said in an interview. “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”
Reaction to the news will essentially follow the same trajectory as it has every time Facebook introduces a change: immediate outrage followed by obedient acclimatization.
The first part is already underway:
A Mashable poll ask users how they would you feel about Instagram switching to an algorithmic feed. Over 80 per cent have responded with “That’d be bad!” while just 6 per cent think it’s a good idea.
One positive of an algorithmic feed is that users who follow people from around the world won’t miss out on posts as a result of time differences.
“Look at my feed now. I follow accounts from all over the world,” said Instagram’s co-founder and chief technology office Mike Krieger, who notes many of the users he follows post content he would otherwise miss while he’s sleeping. “It doesn’t really matter to me what time it is.”
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