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Instagram says it will show posts in order of ‘relevance’

16 March 2016

From The Washington Post:

Instagram users could soon notice something different in their feeds: Instead of showing users the most recent posts first, the mobile photo-sharing app says it will give higher priority to posts that each user is likely to care about most.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s how Facebook decides what to show users of its online social network. Facebook Inc., which owns Instagram, has long used a complex formula to emphasize items it hopes will be “relevant” to each user, based on factors like whether the post came from a close friend or how the user responded to similar posts.

Instagram had previously acted more like rival Twitter, showing every post in reverse-chronological order. But as its audience has grown to more than 400 million users, Instagram says it’s become harder for users to keep up with the gusher of photos and videos posted by friends and other accounts they follow.

. . . .

The change comes as Instagram is also showing more commercial messages.

Link to the rest at The Washington Post

PG doesn’t think he’s alone in finding that Facebook’s “relevance” engine is more annoying than helpful. He certainly knows a number of authors who are less than enchanted with the change.

If Facebook and Instagram were primarily trying to please their users, they would offer the option of using the old or the new algorithm.

Advertising-Promotion, Social Media

16 Comments to “Instagram says it will show posts in order of ‘relevance’”

  1. “Instagram says it will show posts in order of ‘relevance’”

    Who’s ‘relevance’ you ask?

    Whomever is making them the most money …


    Quality control, n.: Assuring that the quality of a product does not get out of hand and add to the cost of its manufacture or design.

    • Reality Observer

      Most relevance in terms of what you should be seeing. As determined by the Ministry of Truth.

      • Ah, pity for them their truth isn’t often my truth (and never seems to be the real truth — whatever that might be …)

  2. At least on Facebook, you actually can switch back to “Most Recent” by clicking on the little gear next to “Newsfeed” on the left hand side. That’s all I use. I’m pretty sure I still see most posts. I know I don’t miss any.

    Allen’s got a point. The thing is, these are all free-to-use services. And as the saying goes, if you’re not paying to for a service, you’re its product, not its user. To paraphrase The Usual Suspects, the greatest trick Facebook ever pulled was making people believe we were using it.

    • It seems like once a day I have to poke FB into giving me Most Recent instead of Top Stories (which I guess is their term for relevant).

      It annoys the heck out of me when they change MY settings. Makes me stubborn. Now I ALWAYS check, and make it recent ones, because that’s what I want.

      • So glad to know about the settings. I’ve hated missing the posts I want to see. I’ve had to bookmark friends’ feeds and go right to their page.

  3. Great. Just like the Twitter curators. Yay.

  4. Lyle Blake Smythers

    Facebook does allow you to choose the option of most recent posting vs. most relevant, but then if you choose the most recent option the system will frequently change it back to most relevant, without telling you, and only when you figure out what happened and manually change it again does it reluctantly give you what you want. I don’t call this user-friendly.

    What I find even worse: Many if not most of us use FB by scrolling down through the postings until we start seeing ones that we’ve already seen before, which lets us know that we are now caught up to any new postings. FB keeps changing the order of the postings in our feed, moving older ones up to the top again every time someone makes a new comment on that posting. This is horrendous and there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop it.

    • “This is horrendous and there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop it.”

      Heh, if enough people agreed with you you could ‘let facebonk know’ you were ‘displeased’ with their stunts. Maybe a new hashtag #RelevanceMyHindquarters and all agree not to visit faceplant for the same week. If there were enough people doing it all at once, facepalm would have to address it, least their advertisers leave them. It might also cause people to think and consider if that site is worth the time they spend/waste on it …

      • Most people don’t actually care enough about Facebook to be bothered when it changes the settings. A few of my friends post there regularly, but the majority only do something every few weeks or months.

        For me, it’s just a way to easily keep in touch with family on the other side of the Atlantic. They’re not going to set up their own web server.

  5. Twitter is doing a similar thing, too. As far as I can tell, what these apps are saying is, “Go ahead, delete us off your phone like you did with Facebook. We don’t want your attention.”

  6. Instagram’s new motto: “You can’t trust us, either!”

    I can say that since I don’t have a smartphone.

  7. You can’t pay for placement if they don’t own the algorithms.

  8. I use https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr as my bookmark. Forces Facebook into “Most Recent” mode.

  9. being curated can fall into censorship. One cant know the minds of five million people and what they are looking for. Half the time, most of us dont know what the h we are looking for til we stumble across it. I loathe zuck’s vision of how it all should go. It feels like psycho mom says we’re moving to a new apartment [again] because “I say so”… who are you? Just kids who need to be controlled.’ In stead of fam. members who all have different ways of proceeding.

    Sure, wait til Zuck’s kid is a teen. Can hardly wait. lol

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