Instagram Is Testing Algorithmic Filtering In Its Photo Feed

Mar 15, 2016

When it comes to using an algorithm to display relevant content, Instagram may be following in the footsteps of its parent company, Facebook. As reported by The New York Times, the photo-centric social network is testing a new way to show pictures in its feed using data to determine order.

Instead of showing photos and videos in chronological order, with most recent first, Instagram will show photos it thinks a user may be more interested in, even if it wasn't posted recently.

Recently, Twitter (twtr) also made a similar move, debuting a way for its users to access “best” tweets from the accounts they follow at the top of the page. In Twitter's case, many users protested the new type of feed, even circuling the hashtag #RIPTwitter in response to the news.

For more on Instagram, watch this video.

Whether Instagram's 400 million active users will respond similarly is yet to be determined. As Fortune‘s Mathew Ingram noted in the case of Twitter, algorithmic filtering can be problematic even if users can opt out of it.

In the case of Facebook's algorithm-based feed, many users failed to opt out because the setting is difficult to find. Sixty percent of Facebook (fb) users don’t even realize the company filters their news feed, says a study by the University of Illinois.

But Instagram believes that their new feed might actually be good for users. “On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed,” Instagram's co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom told The Times' Mike Isaac. “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”

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