Instagram broke its silence on its algorithmic kerfuffle this week, taking to Twitter to address rumours that it was limiting the reach of users’ posts. Long story short — no, its feed doesn’t curtail your posts to just 7 per cent of your followers, the company said.
Instead, Instagram just curates your feed based on the posts and accounts you engage with most, what Instagram calls “feed ranking.” If you scroll long enough, the company assured users, you’ll find the posts that went unshared and unloved.
We have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you're following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. Again, your feed is personalized to you and evolves over time based on how you use Instagram.✌️
— Instagram (@instagram) January 22, 2019
Transparency is nice and all, but Instagram should really give a gander to the replies, where the people have made their wishes known: Bring back the reverse-chronological timeline.
Better yet, just steal Twitter’s “sparkle” button.
Back in December, Twitter added a sparkle button to its mobile app that lets you toggle between an algorithmically curated Timeline (what it calls “home”) and a reverse-chronological timeline (“latest tweets”). That way, if you want to see the high-engagement tweets you missed while you slept, you can. But if you want to see the latest posts first, it’s just as easy to switch back to pure, reverse-chronological goodness.
The sparkle button functionality isn’t perfect; specifically, Twitter will eventually revert you back to the non-chronological feed, which is annoying. But the important thing is that you now have a choice, and switching back is an easy, one-button tap away.
While Instagram may not buck parent company Facebook’s love of algorithmic feeds, it should do exactly that (and Facebook should do it too!) — calm down the masses and give us a sparkle button. Stop trying to force side-scrolling feeds and other junk features. Just lovingly gank Twitter’s sparkle button. After all, it worked with ripping off Snapchat’s stories.
Just think about it, Instagram. Baking in Snapchat’s best feature led to a massive jump in daily users. Plus, no more hordes of angry people blowing up your mentions about chronological timelines. Win-win, right?