Instagram users, you might want to sit down. Instagram may soon be messing with your timeline, showing photos not based on chronological order, but based on popularity and other social signals.
In other words, your Instagram could soon be curated in a way similar to Facebook’s News Feed. The move, which comes about a month after Twitter started new timeline experiments, was first reported by The New York Times.
With a userbase of almost 400 million users, Instagram has remained one of the few social networks that shows content in a strictly chronological manner. With the exception of sponsored posts — which are interspersed in your feed based on various cues — what you see in Instagram is reflective of the now.
The Times reports that Instagram is going to start testing a change to that system, using algorithms to help determine what you need to see when you open up the app. What you see first could be determined by your interaction history with a user, the time of day and the popularity of the photo.
Instagram co-founder CEO Kevin Systrom said that users miss about 70% of the posts in their feeds
Instagram co-founder CEO Kevin Systrom said that users miss about 70% of the posts in their feeds and that “this is about is making sure that the 30% you see is the best 30% possible.”
Still, we can imagine that users won’t necessarily love the fact that they no longer control the order in which they are shown photos. Facebook faced backlash for its algorithmic take on the News Feed back in 2009 and Twitter has faced backlash for its attempts to switch-up its Timeline in recent months. In the case of Facebook, users ended up relenting and accepting the new reality (as users almost always do when Facebook makes a sudden change).
Instagram’s other co-founder, CTO Mike Krieger, told The Times that the change to Instagram might not be as big of a deal to users because its feed is made up of photos and users often follow people from all over the world.