The changes we all have been dreading have, this week, been implemented—the Instagram news feed no longer displays your followers’ posts in chronological order, but in a prioritized order that relies on your ‘liking’ preferences. However, before anyone panics, not all Instagram users are experiencing this change.
In fact, only a small percentage of Instagram news feeds of the global population have been modified. This new algorithmic feed is only being tested temporarily on some users for now, and some of them are Malaysian.
Indeed, one of Instagram’s current guinea pigs is one of my closest friends. He is your average university student, and yet recently he came up to me and showed me his Instagram: his news feed was no longer chronological in order! He has 15.5k followers though, thus I believe it was a factor in Instagram’s selection of test users.
Nevertheless, here was his reaction: “I think it’s pretty cool.” When I asked him why, he answered: “The thing is, you see, I follow around 4k people on Instagram and when I scroll my news feed it is very hard for me to see my friend’s posts, and instead I end up seeing a lot of random strangers’ posts and that really becomes annoying.” Of course, he could unfollow those people but to reduce his ‘following’ from 4k to less than 1k would take a lifetime.
Now, with the new algorithm, he will be able to sort out his preferences accordingly. Since he only ‘likes’ his friends’ posts, he would only see their posts. According to him, this new feed makes it all easier to organize and would keep him easily updated on Instagram accounts that matter to him.
From this perspective, I realised that the changes Instagram wishes to implement are actually not that disadvantageous. After our conversation, I pondered on my own use of Instagram: I only follow around 400 users, most of which are my friends, family, acquaintances and my favourite businesses. Therefore, I tend to ‘like’ most, if not all, of the posts that appear chronologically on my news feed. If the changes were to be applied, my feed would most likely remain the same, since my preferences lie between… everything to everything in my Instagram!
It is finally not that bad, isn’t it?
In any case, when and if the change in Instagram’s algorithm really happens, the app developers will notify its users, therefore there is no need to worry. When Facebook modified the order of its news feed, it was at first complained about extensively, and yet, now here we are, enjoying Facebook even more, while the website is getting more and more users every day. In the end, such changes are not that much of a big deal.