Goodbye, reverse-chronology. Hello, algorithms.
Instagram told users and businesses today that their photo feeds “will soon be ordered to show the moments [it believes] you will care about the most.” Up until now, Instagram organized its feeds in reverse-chronological order. That is, the photos in your feed appeared whenever they were shared.
The change was inevitable. As the New York Times writes, Facebook introduced algorithmic ordering to its News Feed back in 2009. And while the change prompted protests, the resulting panic was short-lived. We’ll likely see the same results with Instagram, which appears to be handling the situation cautiously: “We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way,” the company wrote in a blog post.
For now, Instagram is testing the change with a small subset of users, the NYT writes. But make no mistake, Instagram’s decision appears to be permanent: “You’ll see this new experience in the coming months,” the company wrote.
Like Facebook, Instagram aims to show you stuff you care about as often as possible — the service’s ad revenue depends on it. On that note, a recent study suggests Instagram’s interaction rates dropped significantly last year. Perhaps Instagram’s new feeds will reverse that trend?
Updated 3:04 p.m. PT with additional details.