Instagram isn’t going chronological, and is currently telling us why

The company has in public declared that it’s not going chronological, and now, is giving us better sense of its rationale. in a recent press briefing, the product lead for Instagram’s feed, Julian Gutman, told journalists that the photo sharing app is “not thinking about [chronological ordering] at this time.” the explanation, a spokesperson said, is that users tend to pay more time within the app when they’re presented with an algorithmic rather than a reverse chronological feed. And that’s not just good for Instagram’s ad revenue — it also allows users to see the posts that they want to see, even if those photos and videos were posted a while ago. In fact, Instagram claims that its algorithmic feed permits users to see 90 % of the posts from their close friends and family, whereas a reverse chronological feed would solely show them about 50 % of these posts.

“As we’ve dug in more and tried to grasp why people ask for chronological, it’s not a universal thing,” Gutman added. “It isn’t a single reason that people wish chrono, and I assume what we’re really trying to understand is what those different frustrations that people are having and how can we build that in to their personalized feed experience.”

Instagram is, however, giving users a new choice to management their feeds. In a recent blog post, the social media platform discussed its “New Posts” button. This button will give users additional management over when their feed refreshes. Once pressed, the users will be taken to the top of their feed, with newer posts being more likely to appear initial than older ones. It isn’t a full reversion to chronological feeds, however it does give users a bit more management over how and when new posts appear.

Instagram’s algorithms use several factors in determining which posts to show initially, together with the engagement or the amount of likes and comments the post receives. However timeliness is also included among those factors, as Instagram said within the original blog post saying the change to a non-chronological feed, which means that the time the post was shared is still a factor in how the posts are displayed.

A quick scroll through my Instagram after not logging on for a few days had around five posts that appeared to be chronologically ordered before the time stamp on the posts appeared to jump back and forth.
Instagram’s algorithm, which includes when the post was shared, occasionally made posts appear to be ordered chronologically. The time spent within the news feed could also play a factor — since Instagram algorithms avoid showing the identical post twice, users frequently checking their feed could have fewer posts for that algorithm to work with.

While Instagram’s chronological news feed change back in 2016 was met with mixed reactions, Instagram aforementioned it made the choice to adjust the news feed because around 70 % of posts were going unseen within the chronological format. Timelines created by algorithms, instead of time stamps, are currently the more popular option among the largest social networks. Besides Facebook and Instagram, Twitter also uses algorithmic timelines; however users also have the option to still switch back to chronological order.